Uttarakhand HC upholds life in jail to Amarmani, wife

The Uttarakhand High Court on Monday upheld the life term awarded by a CBI court to former SP MLA Amarmani Tripathi, his wife Madhumani, nephew Rohit Chaturvedi and associate Santosh Rai in the Madhumita Shukla murder case.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice U C Dhayani also awarded life imprisonment to Prakash Pandey, another associate of Tripathi who was earlier let off by the court in Dehradun for want of evidence. "The evidence against them prove they were guilty," observed the Bench in its 22-page order. It also directed the trial court to immediately take Pandey into custody.

In 2007, the CBI court had convicted Tripathi, Madhumani, Rai and Chaturvedi for hatching a conspiracy and killing Madhumita in Lucknow in 2003. While Tripathi and Madhumani were serving term in a Gorakhpur jail, Rohit and Santosh were lodged in a Dehradun jail.

Tripathi has made several attempts in the past to get bail to be able to contest elections. All five accused are now expected to move the Supreme Court against the order.

On May 8, 2003, two assailants shot dead 26-year-old Madhumita, a Hindi poet, at her residence in Lucknow. Subsequently, after her sister Nidhi claimed that Madhumita had an affair with Amarmani, the then minister in the Uttar Pradesh government, the CBI was asked to inquire into the case.

In its chargesheet, the CBI alleged that Madhumita was pregnant when she was murdered.

It said Tripathi wanted her to abort the child but Madhumita refused, following which he hatched a conspiracy, with the help of the other accused, to kill her. Pandey and Rai were sent to her house to execute the crime and Rai shot her dead, alleged the chargesheet.

Madhumita's mother Shanti Devi welcomed the verdict. "I am happy that these accused were brought to justice," she said.

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