Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel along with other accused surrendered before a court in Hamirpur on Monday in connection with the life term awarded to them by a court in connection with the murder of five members of a family in Hamirpur in 1997.
The MLA, accompanied by thousands of his supporters, reached the court of the district judge on Monday and surrendered. Later, the MLA and other accused — Raghuvir Singh, Ashutosh Singh, Naseem and Bhan Singh — were taken into custody.
During the entire judicial process, the supporters of the MLA kept raising slogans in support of their leader.
Besides the surrender of accused on Monday, police had arrested three others — Uttam Singh, Pradeep Singh and Sahab Singh, who were also convicted in the case.
The court had on May 6 issued warrant of arrest as the nine convicts continued to abscond after the lower court as well as the Allahabad High Court refused to stay their conviction.
On April 19, the Allahabad High Court had awarded the BJP MLA and others life term in the massacre of five members of a family in a 22-year-old incident in Hamirpur district.
While partly allowing an appeal filed by the state government and complainant Rajiv Shukla, a division bench comprising Justices Ramesh Sinha and Dinesh Kumar Singh reversed the decision of additional sessions judge, Hamirpur dated July 15, 2002, who had acquitted all 10 accused, including Chandel. The state government as well as Shukla had challenged the decision of district and sessions judge.
On 26 January, 1997, a minor altercation between local BJP leader Shukla and Chandel led to a firing in which five persons, including Shukla’s two elder brothers, Rakesh, Rajesh, and nephews Ambuj, Ved Nayak and Srikant Pandey were killed. Five other persons, including two children, had sustained bullet injuries in the shooting after which an FIR was lodged against Chandel and others. The chargesheet was filed against Chandel and others after investigation. All the 10 accused were acquitted on July 15, 2002 by additional district and session judge, Hamirpur, on the ground that the testimony of witnesses were doubtful. The decision was challenged by Shukla before the High Court, which reversed the judgement.
Chandel, a former MP and a four-time MLA from Hamirpur, had started his political career in 1989 as an Independent MLA. He went on to become MP from Hamirpur in 1999 on BSP ticket. Presently, he is a BJP sitting MLA from Hamirpur (Sadar) constituency.