The curious case of convicted killer Anand Mohan Singh
By G Krishna Mohan Rao*
SC lists a petition challenging the Bihar government’s decision to release Anand Mohan
New Delhi/Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is facing flak from all around for amending prison rules that facilitated the release of one of Bihar’s noted “ Bahubalis” who dominated state politics in the 1990s, Anand Mohan Singh.
Anand Mohan, sentenced to jail for life over the murder of a Dalit Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, walked out of jail, last week after 16 years in prison. He is also a former Member of Parliament and his release has triggered widespread protests from Dalit politicians, unions, and the IAS associations.
It may be mentioned that in April 2023, the Bihar government amended the Bihar prison manual 2012 to remove the phrase “the murder of a public servant”. The existing rule disallowed remission of convicts of terrorism, rape-cum-murder and murder of state officers. Within a fortnight of the change, Anand Mohan was cleared for release, purportedly to re-enter the electoral arena ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. His political influence is expected to pull in some of Bihar’s about 6-7 per cent Rajput vote. Interestingly, the Opposition in Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress Party, reacted to his release with a forked tongue: criticising the change in rule yet not criticising Anand Mohan’s release.
Incidentally, despite coming under tremendous pressure for altering prison rules to facilitate the release of a murder convict “reportedly” for political reasons, till now the Bihar government is unmoved by the criticism over Mohan’s release, political outcry and PILs (public interest litigations) filed against the release order forced the state government to go under defence mode.
Bihar government Chief Secretary, Amir Subhani, said that “ be it Anand Mohan or 25 others, they were released under a rigorous standing procedure that was followed before the Rajya Dandadesh Pariwar Parishad’s recommendation of the release of the prisoners serving the life term”. Chief Secretary added that Anand Mohan had served life term for 15 years, nine months and 25 days, and with the “ Parihar” (good behaviour) period, it came to 22 years and 13 days.
The Dalit IAS officer, G Krishnaiah, who hailed from Telangana, was beaten to death by a mob in 1994 when his vehicle tried to overtake a funeral procession in Muzaffarpur district. Anand Mohan, who was then the sitting MLA from Mahishi, was leading the funeral procession taken out upon the death of his close associate Chita Shukla, another dreaded gangster who fell to the bullets of his rivals before realising his political ambitions.
The family of slain IAS officer G Krishnaiah raised questions over the Bihar government’s move to tweak the rules to prematurely release Anand Mohan, who was convicted for the murder of Krishnaiah. His wife and daughter said that they will take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Draupadi Murmu and also approach the court of law in the matter. The Supreme Court today listed the petition filed by Krishnaiah’s wife Uma on May 8, 2023. In her petition, she challenged the Bihar government’s decision to release Anand Mohan.
Earlier, when the news appeared in the press that Anand Mohan would be visiting Hyderabad to meet Krishnaiah’s family and apologise, there was a strong reaction against Mohan from the family of the slain IAS officer. Even the state BJP chief Bandi Sanjay said that he would not allow Anand Mohan to enter Hyderabad.
It may be recalled that the 1990s-2000s saw criminality in politics countrywide reach epidemic proportions. Anand Mohan as a regional strongman had made his political name on an anti-Mandal, anti-Dalit plank in the Bihar of the early 1990s, the peak time of anti-Mandal protests. A trial court, in 2007, sentenced Anand Mohan to death for the 1994 lynching of Krishnaiah, then District Magistrate of Gopalganj.
In fact, the release of Anand Mohan has once again opened Pandora’s box with many approaching the Supreme Court to set limits on the discretion of state governments to release convicts. Here it is argued that Mohan was released not because he is very old, suffering from some incurable disease, or has served a terribly long time in prison already. One PIL suggested that for convicted killers, the minimum period of imprisonment before release should be 30 years.
Very recently in April this year, the Supreme Court pulled up the Gujarat government and Union Government for their reluctance to share files in the early release of 11 lifers in the Bilkis Bano case. It may be recalled that last August, before the Gujarat assembly polls, 11 killers who were convicted of gang-raping Bilkis Bano, were granted remission by the Gujarat government. Not just that, the released convicts were felicitated and garlanded. Further, recently, the Haryana government, presumably with an eye on the 2024 general elections, justified frequent paroles to Dera Chief and rape-and-murder convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim, claiming he was not a “ hardcore prisoner”.
1 thought on “The curious case of convicted killer Anand Mohan Singh”
The story itself is self-explanatory about the level to which the deprecating caste politics in Bihar has reached to in order to stay in power. In fact, the people of Bihar are responsible for this utterly shameful act.