Seventy years old Mr. Vijay Mishra was thirty when his late father former cabinet minister Lalit Narain Mishra was killed in a bomb blast at Samistipur railway station in Bihar. Mr. Mishra recently gave a TV interview. But for that it might have gone unnoticed that LN Mishra’s death remains an unsolved mystery 40 years later. The court will deliver its verdict on December 8th. Can a system of justice be more scandalous? After LN Mishra’s death the CID police in Bihar investigated and made swift progress. But the central government intervened and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took charge. After that the case has dragged on for 40 years.
Why such a long delay? One of the accused persons and several witnesses have meanwhile died. According to the Supreme Court the delay was caused by the accused. The accused cannot succeed in delaying a case for so long without cooperation of the prosecution. This indicates a deliberate cover up of truth by the government. After the blast the injured victim was taken for treatment almost 150 km metres away when better medical facilities were available just 30 minutes from the bomb blast site. The train carrying him never stopped at Patna station despite the victim’s importance. There are other unanswered questions of the government’s strange conduct.
After LN Mishra’s death there were strong rumours and speculation in the public about the conspiracy behind the blast. The CIA and the KGB were talked about. But the most popular view was that there was a government hand in the murder. LN Mishra handled the Congress party’s finances and was considered an Indira Gandhi loyalist. It was speculated that he was privy to some government financial deal about which he was not being cooperative. So strong was the anti-government rumour that Indira Gandhi was constrained to say: “Even if I were to be killed, they would say that I myself had got it done.”
LN Mishra joins a long list of violent deaths of India’s political leaders that remain unsolved with several relevant questions that have never been answered. The deaths of Mahatma Gandhi, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi all have unanswered questions that point to conspiracies behind the deaths. No answers or credible closure of cases ever occurred. While Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi goes about attempting reform in society he might with advantage focus on fundamental systemic changes required to introduce in India a credible democracy and swift justice system. This should be his top priority. Without such reform there will be no lasting benefits despite his exertions.
This writer recalls meeting LN Mishra a few years before his death. I owned and edited a small radical anti-establishment weekly, “Stir”. LN Mishra sought a meeting with me. He said he would help finance my venture to any extent. I could write what I wanted except criticize Indira Gandhi. I declined. He smiled and seemed to expect that answer. We parted cordially.