Agartala: A court in Tripura Monday awarded three months’ imprisonment to senior Congress leader and former minister Birajit Sinha for violating the arms act in a double-murder case that rocked the state July 20, 2004.

Sinha is a sitting Congress legislator since 1988 and a former member of the All India Congress Committee.

“The district and sessions judge of northern Tripura’s Unokoti district, Gautam Debnath pronounced the judgment in a packed court (in Kailashahar), sentencing three months’ jail and a fine of Rs.1,000 to Sinha on arms act involving killing of two people,” public prosecutor Pradip Deb told reporters.

On July 20, 2004, during a by-poll of gram panchayat, a major clash and firing occurred between opposition Congress and ruling CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) supporters at Babur Bazar area in northern Tripura.

In the firing, two people — a CPI-M activist Abdul Hannan and Sinha’s personal security guard Nikhil Deb — were killed.

Sinha, who was a panchayat and rural development minister during the Congree-led alliance government (1988-1993) and former president of Tripura Congress party, was carrying a licensed pistol that day.

“Sinha was accused of carrying additional quantities of cartridges of his pistol than the stipulated numbers. Return firing was also done from his pistol,” the public prosecutor said.

The court also awarded two and a half years’ sentence and a fine of Rs.2,000 to slain CPI-M activist Abdul Hannan’s father Abdul Rahman, 70, for inciting the mob that day.

However, both the parties told the reporters they would move the higher court against the district court judgment.

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