Sher Singh Rana, one of the 12 accused to face trial for the 2001 murder of dacoit-turned MP Phoolan Devi, famously known as ‘bandit queen’, on Friday became the lone convict in the case with a Delhi court holding him guilty of the crime while acquitting 10 others.
Sher Singh Rana is said to have assassinated Phoolan Devi to avenge the killing of 22 upper-caste men by her and her gang in the Behmai massacre of 1981.
Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar pronounced the verdict in a jam-packed court.
“Why only me? Why are you convicting only me, sir? How can I murder someone alone,?” said Sher Singh Rana to the judge after the verdict. He has been held guilty of murder but acquitted of the charge of criminal conspiracy.
On the other hand, slain MP Phoolan Devi’s husband Umaid Singh said he was not happy with the judgement and would move upper court to see others also behind bars.
The argument on sentence will be heard on August 12.
After the verdict, the ten acquitted persons and the family and friends of Sher Singh Rana said they would move High Court for his release. They also raised slogans in his support and proceeded towards lock-up to have a word with him.
The prosecution case was that Phoolan Devi, a Samajwadi Party MP from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, was shot dead outside her residence on July 25, 2001 at Ashoka Road by Rana and associates in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy, the motive of which police said was to avenge the alleged murder of upper-caste men by her.
Those who have been acquitted today are: Dhan Prakash, alias Vicky, Shekhar, Rajbir, Rajinder, Amit Rathi, Praveen Mittal, Keshav Chauhan, Surinder Singh alias Suri, and Vijay, brother of the prime accused. One Mustaqeem, who supplied weapons for the crime and Shravan, who works in a liquor shop was also acquitted.
A 12 th accused named Pradeep was also an accused in the case and died in the Tihar jail in November, 2013. He used to work in the liquor shop run by Sher Singh.
Sher Singh had surrendered before the police after the crime.
However, in 2004, he fled from Tihar and reached Kandhar in Afghanistan from where he brought the relics of Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan.
In 2006, he was arrested from Kolkata and brought back here and lodged in high-security prison.
Rana’s autobiogrpahy ‘Jail Diary: Tihar Se Kandahar Tak’ was published in 2012 by a leading publishing house. He unsuccessfully contested the UP Assembly polls the same year from Jewar constituency as an Independent.