New Delhi: Seventeen Uttarakhand policemen convicted in a fake encounter of a 22-year-old MBA student on Monday escaped the gallows with a Delhi court awarding them life imprisonment, much to the disappointment of the victim’s family, who vowed to challenge it in a higher court for death penalty.
The cops were handed down with life term as the court said that the crime committed by them, does not fall in the ‘rarest of rare’ category warranting capital punishment.
The victim Ranbir Singh’s parents present along with other family members in the court room immediately expressed their disappointment saying they would like to see all of them hanged and would approach the higher court against the verdict. “I want death for all the policemen who killed my younger son,” the victim’s mother, who was seen crying, said.
The wife of one of the convicts, Santosh Kumar Jaiswal, also broke down in the courtroom and said the judge should have once given a thought to the fate of her small kids. “Where will we go? He (Santosh) is the only earning member in the family,” she shouted, before being taken out of the court room.
Detailing the facts and circumstances of the case, Special CBI Judge J P S Malik said that “the case is purely based on circumstantial evidence and conviction is based on conspiracy between the convicts. I am of the opinion that the case does not fall in the category of rarest of rare case,” he said.
“Policemen of police station Dalanwala, Police station Nehru Colony and Special Operation Group (SOG) all of Dehradun city were involved. A (accused)-3 Rajesh Bhist, A-16 Inderbhan Singh, A-13 Vikas Chnader Baluni and A-14 Sanjay Rawat, were of PS (police station) Nehru Colony, A-5 Nitin Chauhan, A-10 Chander Pal and A-11 Saurabh Nautiyal, were of SOG, and rest of PS Dalanwalla, what was the common thread between the three has not been revealed,” the court added.
The judge in his verdict also observed that the place of incident in Ladpur forest is within the jurisdiction of police station Raipur, Dehradun and the then President of India was visiting the city on the July 3, 2009. “The city is on high alert but policemen of police station Raipur is nowhere,” said the court.
The life imprisonment was awarded to 17 policemen after having held them guilty on June 6, of involvement in the conspiracy to kidnap and kill Ghaziabad resident Ranbir Singh, who had gone to Dehradun to take up a job on July 3, 2009.
The CBI during arguments on quantum of sentence had also pleaded to the court that the case qualifies to be put in the category of rarest of rare cases as life of an innocent young boy has been terminated by the policemen, who had been entrusted with the duty to protect the society and innocent lives.
Noting that life imprisonment is rule and death sentence in an exception, the court said, “Do not think they would be a menace to the society. Many of the convicts particularly the subordinate staffs, like constables are of young age and were not armed at the time of incident”.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each on seven cops, six Sub-Inspectors Santosh Kumar Jaiswal, Gopal Dutt Bhatt (SHO), Rajesh Bisht, Neeraj Kumar, Nitin Kumar Chauhan, Chander Mohan Singh Rawat and constable Ajit Singh, who were directly held guilty of killing the victim.
It has also directed 10 other policemen, convicted for conspiracy to kidnap and kill Ranbir, to furnish a fine of Rs 20,000 each. The court further said that the fine recovered shall be given to the victim’s father as compensation.
The judge also said that the compensation awarded to the victim’s father, the recovered fine, shall not be adequate for their rehabilitation, therefore Delhi Legal Services Authority should look for more compensation.
However, when asked about the compensation of Rs 5.5 lakh to be given to him on courts direction, he said that the fight was not about money at all. “Will any amount compensate his life?” he asked.