Lucknow, Oct 24 (UNI) Law seems to have finally caught up with former Uttar Pradesh minister and mafia-turned-politician Amarmani Tripathi with a Dehradun court handing down life sentence to the politician, his wife and two others in the Madhumita Shukla murder case.
On May 9, 2003, Madhumita Shukla, a budding poetess and alleged lover of Amarmani, was gunned down from close range in her two-room apartment in Lucknow's Paper Mill Colony. The assailants had fired three rounds from a .315 bore country-made pistol. While one bullet missed the mark, the rest hit the 24-year-old in the chest.
Phone calls relating to the murder were traced to his wife Madhumani in Gorakhpur, who was also implicated in the crime. She was apparently unhappy with Madhumita's liason with her politican husband.
Amarmani was arrested in September 2003 after Ms Mayawati, during her previous stint as Chief Minister handed over the probe to the CBI in July 2003. Amarmani was a minister in her government.
Soon after Ms Mayawati stepped down from power in August 2003, Amarmani switched loyalties to the Samajwadi Party with 39 other MLAs to help Mulayam Singh Yadav form an alternative government.
Tripathi was arrested from his Lawrence Terrace residence in Lucknow after a DNA match proved that he was the father of a seven-month-old foetus Madhumita was carrying when she was shot. The CBI team which come to arrest him had mingled with mediapersons when the politician was holding a press conference.
Soon after reporters left, they picked up Tripathi for questioning.
Subsequent to his arrest, he, along with his wife Madhumani, were lodged in Gorakhpur jail. In the recently held assembly elections, Amarmani won as an Independent candidate from Lakshmipur constituency despite being in Gorakhpur Jail.
The court has sentenced Amarmani, his wife Madhumani and two other accused to life imprisonment. Nearly 79 witnesses have appeared in the case, which was transferred to the Court of District and Sessions Judge V B Roy from Lucknow on the orders of the Supreme Court, earlier this year.
The CBI had arrested five people, including Amarmani and Madhumani, in connection with the case.
The trial in the case began in March following apprehensions expressed by Madhumita's elder sibling Nidhi Shulka that Amarmani and Madhumani may try to block a free and fair trial in their home state.
Madhumita's servant Desraj (then seven-year-old) had emerged a prime witness in the case.
Tripathi was a member of the Hari Shankar Tiwari gang. Before entering politics, Tripathi was listed as a Category A history-sheeter (having a long record of offences) with 33 criminal cases pending against him, including five relating to murder.