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
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
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.
to 'Ranjan Kumar Verma, the journalist: Poonam Verma, wife of Ranjan Kumar
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.
However, he does not
contradict press report alleging that he had abducted and assaulted Dayanand
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.
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.
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: