New Delhi: A Delhi court Monday reserved for Dec 18 its order on sentencing of the four convicts in the 1975 murder of then railway minister Lalit Narayan Mishra.

District Judge Vinod Goel fixed Dec 18 for delivering the order on the quantum of punishment in the case. The court last week held four followers of Hindu sect Anand Marg guilty of killing Mishra 39 years back.

Gopalji (73), Ranjan Dwivedi (66), Santoshanand Avadhuta (75) and Sudevananda Avadhuta (79) were convicted on charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon.

Santoshanand Avadhuta and Sudevananda Avadhuta were also convicted under various provisions of the Explosive Substances Act.

Mishra went to Samastipur in Bihar Jan 2, 1975, to declare open the Samastipur-Muzaffarpur broad-gauge railway line.

A bomb explosion on the dais seriously injured him.

He was rushed to the railway hospital at Danapur, near Patna, where he died the following day.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has alleged that Anand Margis had carried out the attack on Mishra to put pressure on the government for releasing one of the group’s leaders.

The Supreme Court transferred the case to Delhi in 1979. The charges against the accused were framed in 1981.

On the direction of the apex court, the lower court here began hearing the final arguments in the 39-year-old case on a daily basis since September 2012.

The apex court in August 2012 dismissed the accused’s plea to terminate the proceedings, ruling that this could not be done merely because the proceedings had not been concluded in the past 37 years.

The apex court directed the trial court not to entertain any plea for unwarranted adjournment.

Over 160 prosecution witnesses, five court witnesses and around 40 defence witnesses were examined in this case.

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