JMM chief Shibu Soren, who became the first Cabinet minister to be convicted for murder, was today sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court for his role in the kidnapping and murder of his private secretary 12 years ago.Soren, 62, who was brought to the court of additional sessions judge B R Kedia from Tihar jail, turned pale when the sentence was pronounced. He was also fined a sum of Rs five lakh which will go to the mother and two daughters of the victim, Shashinath Jha. The prosecution had earlier sought the death sentence for Soren.The other accused - Nand Kishore Mehta, Shailendra Bhattacharya, Pashupati Nath Mehta, Aay Kumar Mehta - were also handed life terms.On November 29, the judge had convicted Soren and others under IPC sections relating to murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.According to CBI, Shashinath Jha's knowledge of an alleged deal between the Congress and JMM to save the Narasimha Rao government during the January 1993 no-confidence motion had led to his murder. The CBI said that Jha demanded money from Soren to suppress facts relating to the no-confidence vote. This finally led to his murder.Reacting to today's verdict, Jha's mother Priyamvada said life imprisonment for Soren and the others was not enough and they should have been hanged. "If Soren appeals in a higher court, we will ask for his death," she said.
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