PUCL Bulletin, July 2002

Bihar minister abducts and assaults a political leader

-- By Prabhakar Sinha, National Vice President; Kishori Das, General Secretary Bihar State PUCL

Bihar State PUCL report into the abduction and assault of C.P.I. ML (Liberation) Leader by Poornamasi Ram, Minister for Food & Supply

Following reports in the media about the abduction and assault of Dayanand Dwivedi, a leader of the C.P.I. (M-L) Liberation at Bagaha, the State PUCL constituted a fact finding team consisting of Dr. Prabhakar Sinha, National Vice President and Shri Kishori Das, the State General Secretary. Though the PUCL has a district unit in West Champaran (Bagaha is in the district of West Champaran), it was decided to send a team from the state unit in view of the reputation of the Minister concerned to be a terror in the area.

The team visited Bagaha on 19.04.2002 and met a large number of people and perused documents having a bearing on the matter under enquiry. The team met Dayanand Dwivedi in jail and the members of his family at his house from where he was abducted. The others who spoke to the team included Ranjan Kumar Verma of the Hindustan, his wife Poonam Verma, his daughter Dipti Ranjan, Usha (a student of the school run by Poonam Ranjan), Dhananjay Kr. Dwivedi (Dayanand Dwivedi's son), Sachchidanand Dwivedi, his father, his mother, Pramod Kumar Gupta, a businessman, Jhakkar Sah, his neighbour, Pradyuman Singh, and Vijay Laxmi Kumari.

The team also visited the Inspection Bungalow where the Minister allegedly took Dayanand Dwivedi and assaulted him and talked to the staff there. It also visited Ranjan Kumar Verma's house where the Minister had gone searching for him allegedly to teach him a lesson for writing against him in the Hindustan. The team could not meet the Minister Poornamasi Ram, as despite several requests made on the telephone between 20th and 30th April 2002 no appointment was given. Our telephone number was left with his staff to communicate the time of the appointment, but no response was received.

However, his version of the event was available in the press note he had issued on 15/04/2002 under his own signature.

Background of the incident: A writ petition C.W.J.C. No 16481/2001 was filed by Dayanand Dwivedi praying for a C.B.I. enquiry into the alleged bungling in the distribution of ration to the holders of 'red cards'. The High Court in the order dated 2 January 2002 said, 'The court refrains from any comment on merits. Should the petitioner desire he can always institute a complaint before the appropriate Magistrate in case action on First Information is not taken'. Following this order one Nandji Ram filed a complaint in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bagaha on 2 April, 2002 alleging that the accused Poornamasi Ram and 11 others had indulged in a scam involving a sum of Rs. 61 crores. The case was posted for 06.05;2002. Meanwhile following a report published in the Hindustan, Poornamasi Ram issued a contradiction denying the allegations levelled against him, which was published in the newspaper on 05.04.2002. In view of the case filed against the Minister, some political leaders demanded resignation of the Rabri Government and Poornamasi Ram on 8th April 2002. The Hindustan carried a news item stating that the Minister had threatened to shed a river of blood'.

A translation of the report is as follows. 'Minister said (I) Would shed a River of Blood' Bagaha-7 April: Accused along with eleven others, the infuriated Food and Supply Minister, Shri Poornamasi Ram addressing an official function at Bagaha 2 block office threatening leaders of the C.P.I. (M-L) and journalists said that in the event of losing the election a river of blood would be shed. It is to be noted that in the election of the Municipality, his son and younger brothers are candidates. He also declared that the Chairman of the Municipality would be somebody from his family (Khaandaan). Concerned at the adverse effect of the case filed against him he used most abusive language against those who filed the case as well as those who filed the news item for publication (The Hindustan 08.02.2002). It was in this background that the incident of April 08.2002 under enquiry took place.

Evidence: The Rickshaw puller, who took the PUCL team to the town and who appeared to be the Minister's supporter said in all innocence that the Minister had beaten the victim for wrongly alleging that 'Shri Poornamasi Ram' had indulged in a scam of 61 crores, when the sum involved was much less. He also showed the Inspection Bungalow where the victim was brought and beaten up. When asked why the police did not intervene, when the police station was just opposite to the I.B., he again said innocently, " After all the Vidhaayak (Legislator) has the power (to beat). Could he do it without power? How can the police intervene? After all, the Vidhaayak has more power than the police."

Dayanand Dwivedi: Poornamasi Ram visited my house on 08.04.2002 at about 1 or 2 o'clock along with Jhontil Paswan and others. When my son Dhananjay informed me of his coming, I came out to receive him. He asked me why 1 had filed a case against him.

On my saying that his Department is responsible, he caught hold of my arm and dragged me to his Gipsy and forced me into it. He beat me up there and took me to the IB and beat me up there also causing me serious injuries. He beat me due to the case I had filed against him. Jhontil Paswan is a dealer and henchman of the Minister.

Dayanand Dwivedi has also filed a case against him, Bagaha P.S. case No 66/2002. The report of the doctor confirms that he was beaten up and his body bears marks of numerous injuries.

He is currently in jail on the basis of a case filed by Jhontil Paswan Bagaha 65/2002. The charges are under Arms Act and the Harijan Act.

Dayanand Dwivedi denied the allegation made by Poornamasi Ram that he was acting on behalf of the big landlords who were against him. How can a C.P.I. (M-L) man work on behalf of landlords?" he asked.

The parents and son of Dayanand Dwivedi supported his version of the incident. Dhananjay, his son further mentioned in detail how the Minister had tried to get him abducted and killed 011 two to three occasions. He is a student of BN College, Patna and has been targeted because of his father's activities.

The old and very decent looking mother of Dayanand ji was inconsolable. She was shocked at the filthy abuses hurled at her by Poornamasi Ram. She said in o1der times a Minister took action against anyone by instructing the police. It was unthinkable that a Minister would move from place to place abducting and beating people.

There were many independent witnesses from the neighborhood to corroborate the version of D. Dwivedi. To name just one, there was Vijay Laxmi Kumari (14, who was at her betel shop near D. Dwivedi's home) saw the Minister come, drag and abduct D. Dwivedi. According to her, he was pushed, dragged and also manhandled.

But the most important of all the eyewitnesses were the staff of the I.B. where he was taken and beaten up. They were a frightened lot and did not want their identity disclosed. They said that they saw the Minister beating D. Dwivedi and also the police take him away from the 1.B.

Incident relating to 'Ranjan Kumar Verma, the journalist: Poonam Verma, wife of Ranjan Kumar Verma:
She runs a school. At about 1 o'clock, she was informed that Poornamasi Ram was at the gate. A boarder informed her. She went to the gate. The Minister wanted to meet her husband. She told him that he had gone to Betia. He began to abuse him, using filthy words not fit to be mentioned. He thundered that he would ruin him. Poonam Verma requested him not to use abuses and said that she would ask her husband not to write against him in the future. Then the Minister left after giving a stern warning. The boarder Usha, a student of class first and their daughter Dipti Ranjan (8) also corroborated this version of the incident.

Ranjan Kumar Verma: He showed us reports, which had antagonized the Minister. One of them was bound to have some adverse effect on the election of the Minister's son and brother, but it contained no material which could be called beyond the bounds of his duty Poornamasi Ram's press release: The Minister's press release is sent under his own signature and is dated 15.04.2002, that is, one week after the attack on Dayanand Dwivedi (on 08.04.2002). In the release, it has been alleged that Dayanand Dwivedi is in hands and gloves with the landlords of the district and is working on their behalf to defame the Minister. It has also been alleged that Dwivedi Ji has been involved in murder and other serious crimes including the killing of policemen. He has also been accused of grabbing land etc. The Minister categorically states that he does not want to fight with the C.P.I. (M-L), but is a victim of persistent personal attacks by Dayanand Dwivedi.

He also alleges that Ranjan Kumar Verma is involved in the local politics and has been working to defame him and to jeopardise the prospect of his son and brother in the Municipal election.

He categorically denies having beaten or intimidated R.K Verma.
He also denies the allegations of bungling against him and offers detailed explanation to establish his innocence.

However, he does not contradict press report alleging that he had abducted and assaulted Dayanand Dwivedi.

It is significant that while he denies that he beat and intimidated R.K., Verma, he does not contradict the press report regarding beating of D. Dwivedi.
Arrest of Dayanand Dwivedi: He has been arrested and sent to jail following the filing of case No. 65/2002 at Bagaha P.S. by Jhontil Paswan under the so called Harijan Act and Arms Act. According to the F.I.R. of Jhontil Paswan, while he (Jhontil Paswan) was proceeding to Bagaha at 12 noon on 08.02.2002, Dayanand Dwivedi stopped him in front of his house and said "Saale, bahan chod, Dusaadh Chamaar, Maadarchod, Itnaa mar barh gayaa hai ki mai baar, baar kah rahaa hun ki Lal Salam me bharti ho Jaao tumhe zamin bhi dilwaaoongaa, Tum Saale Chamaar Meraa baat nahin maan rahe ho." He alleges that D. Dwivedi slapped him and fired at him, but he was not hit.
It was on the basis of this FIR that Dayanand Dwivedi is in judicial custody.

Poornamasi Ram's public Image: He is a feared man at Bagaha; most people were reluctant to talk about the incident. A large number of people said that he was a terror in the locality. According to the people, beating of Dayanand Dwivedi was not an exception. He had allegedly beaten up the Accountant of Bagaha Sugar Factory, Atma Ram Poddar in May 2001, one junior engineer of PWD, Some Yadav in 2000, the cane manager of Bagaha Mill M. M. Srivastava in 90-91 and acting Superintendent of the Hospital Dr. Bindeshwari Prasad in 1990. A major scandal was reported a years or two ago when he gave a similar treatment to his own daughter and son-in-law.

He is also accused of getting some political opponents murdered.
These allegations have not been verified by us, but are widely believed by the people of the area who tremble in fear at the thought of antagonising him.

Finding of the team:

  • In view of the fact that there was not a single person including the staff of the Inspection Bungalow (where Dayanand Dwivedi was taken and assaulted) who contradicted the fact of beating of D. Dwivedi at the I.B. and also in view of the fact that the Minister's press note issued under his own signature does not deny it, the inescapable conclusion is that the injuries on the body of the victim were caused by the Minister Poornamasi Ram, and that he is guilty of abducting and assaulting him.
  • In view of the account of the incident given by the eyewitnesses, including independent and disinterested ones, there is not on iota of doubt that the Minister abducted Dayanand Dwivedi from his house in broad daylight.
  • The police at Bagaha is too demoralized to discharge its minimum duty of protecting the life and liberty of citizens from the attack of the Minister Poornamasi Ram. This conclusion is inescapable from the fact that the beating took place in broad day light in an I.B. which is situated opposite to the main Police Station and is at a stone throw distance from the office of the high police officers. Since we could not meet the SP we would refrain from expressing any opinion on the allegation that he evaded meeting those who went to his residence to seek his help in saving Dayanand Dwivedi from the clutches of Poornamasi Ram.
  • The case filed by Jhontil Paswan is prima facie false, as no member of the CPI (ML) would fire at someone simply for not joining his Lal Salam without any other provocation or reason as has been alleged nor would a person of that party abuse someone calling him 'Chamar, Dusadh etc.' Anyone reading the FIR would see that it is a false case.
  • The incarceration of Dayanand Dwivedi is also a consequence of non-application of mind by the authorities concerned who routinely remand to judicial custody anyone forwarded by the police who has been arrested without warrant u/s 41 of Cr. P.C.

Recommendations: In Bihar, Ministers, other powerful politicians, their relatives, henchmen and criminals enjoying their patronage have become a law unto themselves and commit any crime with impunity. Lalit Yadav's truck driver Deena Nath Baitha was kept forcibly confined in the official quarters for 4 months and subjected to inhuman torture, but he went unpunished. The police did not take any action even while the world saw Baitha on the TV in his pathetic condition. Some men close to another Minister, Dadan Pehalwan were involved in shooting and injuring a person, but none was punished. Another Minister Ramdas Rai was accused of brutally assaulting a hospital staff at Patna Medical College Hospital for asking his relatives to observe the rules of the hospital.

Everyone saw the employee on the TV, but no action was taken against the Minister. Minister Sanjay Kumar Singh and Aditya Singh are named accused in murder case, so is another Minister Raj Ballabh Yadav in another murder case. The son of a Minister Rajendra Yadav recently shot and killed a man at a fair at Madhepura. Sadhu Yadav, an MLC and the brother of the CM Rabri Devi barged into the office of the Transport Secretary with armed men, forced the other officers out of his office on the point of gun and on the point of gun forced the hapless secretary to cancel the transfer order of an inspector, who was his henchman. R Yadav, MP had barged into the office of the Health Secretary and slapped him fro not doing an illegal favour to someone he was interested in. A lady MLA beat the SP of Gaya with her shoes and justified the act to the media. Hundreds instances of such conduct by the politicians and their relatives can be given.

The police and the bureaucracy as a whole have accepted to play the role of the personal employees of the rulers rather than of public servants owing allegiance to the Constitution and the Law of the land. They behave more as the 'Lathaits' of the people in power as was done by the 'Lathaits' of the Zamindars, than as public servants. Thus it is without any shame that they turn a blind eye to the crimes committed by the powerful people. In such a situation it is totally unrealistic to expect any Minister to be proceeded against and brought to the book for any crime.

In view of this fact we recommend the following:

  1. The case against Poornamasi Ram should be handed over to the CBI.
  2. In fact, all criminal cases of serious nature involving Ministers and powerful politician should be handed over to the CBI if the culprits have to be brought to the book.
  3. Political parties must prove their genuine concern for the well-being of the nation by introducing legislation to eliminate the people with criminal records from seeking election to legislatures and other public officers and ending the practice of seeking power by hook or by crook.
  4. Political parties must evolve a consensus on a code of conduct for Ministers and prescribe that the Ministers indulging in improper conduct either must resign or be dismissed.
  5. The case (Bagaha PS. Case No. 65/2002) against Dayanand Dwivedi, which undoubtedly is false, should be withdrawn.
  6. The government must take effective stapes to curb the terror tactics of the Minster Poornamasi Ram to enable the citizens of the area to live like the citizens of a democratic nation.
  7. The government must ensure the freedom of the press and create conditions in which the journalists may do their duty without any fear. In case the Ministers have a complain against a journalist, they must adopt legal means to seek redressal of their grievances rather that indulging in criminal act as was done by Poornamasi Ram.



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