The Supreme Court on May 8 sought a response from the State of Bihar on a petition filed by the widow of murdered Gopalganj District Magistrate and IAS officer G. Krishnaiah challenging a tweak in the Bihar prison law, which facilitated the premature release of former Bihar MP and gangster-turned-politician Anand Mohan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing her husband in 1994.
A Bench led by Justice Surya Kant also issued notice to the Union and Mohan. It allowed an intervention application filed by Alphons Kannanthanam, a former IAS officer and Union Minister, and said it would allow him to make his submissions in the case.
Mohan had been recently released from Saharsa prison.
The Bihar Prison Manual was amended on April 10 to allow convicts serving life imprisonment for heinous offences to apply for remission if they had completed 14 years in prison.
The amendment also removed the bar on life convicts involved in the murder of a public servant on duty from seeking remission of sentence. No reason whatsoever was given for the amendment which was brought into effect through a State Law Department notification.
The amendment served well for Mohan and 26 others, who successfully applied for remission and got it.
“Life imprisonment, when awarded as a substitute for death penalty, has to be carried out strictly as directed by the court and would be beyond application of remission,” the petition contended.
Critics of the Nitish Kumar Government claim the amendment was done to deliberately facilitate the release of Mohan, a Rajput strongman, who could add heft to the electoral fight against the BJP.
Krishnaiah, who hailed from Telangana, was beaten to death by a mob in 1994 when his vehicle tried to overtake the funeral procession of gangster Chhotan Shukla in Muzaffarpur district. Mohan, then an MLA, was leading the procession.