40 years on – Four convicted for assassination of Rail Minister

A Delhi court has convicted Santoshananda Avadhuta, 75, Sudevananda Avadhuta, 79, Gopalji, 73, and advocate Ranjan Dwivedi, 66, for various offences including murder, voluntarily causing grievous harm by dangerous weapon or means, voluntarily causing hurt and criminal conspiracy, in the assassination of then railway minister L N Mishra, bringing down the curtains of the trial in one of India's longest criminal cases, that lasted nearly 40 years. The men were also found guilty of possessing hand grenades. Mishra was killed when bombs were hurled at him at Bihar's Samastipur station on Jan 20 1975, when he went there to inaugurate the broad-gauge railway line. He was rushed to the railway hospital where he succumbed to in injuries the next day. Mishra was a powerful figure in the Congress Party and rose to prominence under then PM Indira Gandhi after the party split in 1969. His murder came at a time when the student agitation gathered steam leading to the Emergency. Mishra's death sparked rumours that he was eliminated because he became too powerful in the eyes of some of his senior colleagues. Those present in the court to hear the verdict included his grand children.