U'khand fake encounter: CBI seeks death for cops, order on Mon

A Delhi court today reserved its order on the sentencing of 17 Uttarakhand police personnel convicted in the fake encounter killing of an MBA graduate with CBI demanding  death for seven of them.

Special CBI Judge J P S Malik will pronounce the order on June 9 in the case in which all the 18 accused policemen were convicted yesterday in the July 3, 2009 fake encounter in which 22-year-old Ranbir Singh of Ghaziabad was killed in a jungle near Dehradun.

One of the accused was allowed to walk free from jail as he has already served the period of sentence for a lesser offence during the pendency of the trial.

Senior Public Prosecutor Brajesh Kumar Shukla, appearing for CBI, demanded death sentence for seven convicted under the offence of Section 302 (murder) of IPC saying that the police personnel behaved in a "predatory manner", which falls under the act of "rarest of rare".

"They (police) were the protectors of law but they behaved in a predatory manner. They should have given protection to the victim, but they killed him in a fake encounter... Pandemonium can't be allowed to be prevailed.

"In a case where fake encounter is proved, the situation is rarest of rare and death penalty should be awarded," Shukla said, adding that the court should give such sentence so that "no public person in future can even think of doing such crimes".

"The circumstances under which the victim was killed deserves nothing less then death penalty," the prosecution said, who cited numerous quotes from Mahabharat, Bible and also reads lines of Shakespeare. 

The court had yesterday held seven of the 18 policeman, including 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, guilty of killing of the victim, who had gone to Dehradun to take up a job in July 2009.

The court had rejected the theory of Uttarakhand police that Ranbir, who had graduated in MBA from Meerut University, was riding on a bike along with two others and had snatched a revolver from a policeman while they were stopped for checking in view of the President's visit on July 3, 2009.

Advocate R M Tufail, appearing for 13 of the convicts, said that they are not criminals, they have no criminal history, nor are they professional killers. So a chance should be given for "rehabilitation and reformation", he said.

However, the prosecution opposed their plea for leniency and said that if police indulged in such a crime who will protect the public. "No one will stay in this kind of society," said Shukla.

Except Jaspal Singh Gosain, all other 17 cops were convicted for the offence of conspiring to kidnap and murder the student.

Apart from Santosh, Gopal, Rajesh, Neeraj, Nitin, Chander Mohan and Ajit, the other ten convicts are constables Satbir Singh, Sunil Saini, Chander Pal, Saurabh Nautiyal, Nagender Rathi, Vikas Chander Baluni, Sanjay Rawat and Manoj Kumar and drivers Mohan Singh Rana and Inderbhan Singh.

The court had convicted accused Gosain for the offence of a public servant framing incorrect record with an intention to save a person from punishment (section 218 IPC) but released him on the period already undergone behind bars. He, however, was acquitted of all the other charges.

Gosain, the then head operator at city control room, was directed to furnish a bail bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety of the like amount.

During the course of arguments on sentencing, the prosecution also requested the court to impose heavy fine on the convicts and compensation should be given to the victim's parents.

The prosecution cited various Supreme Court judgements and said that circular was already issued to the police through the state DGP's outlining the guidelines for the conduct of policemen.

"But they have not followed it, so for their criminality they deserves much harsher punishment," the prosecution said.

He contended that its a cold-blooded murder in which bullets were pumped into the victim's body from  close range.

"The sentence given to the convicts should be such that it becomes an example...Maximum sentence should be given to all the accused as the crime comes under the purview of rarest of rare case, where an innocent youth is shot from a point blank range by the policemen who should be his protector," Shukla added.

The defence counsel, however, said that "life imprisonment is rule and death is an exception".

The counsel also said that the court should have special reasons for giving them death penalty.

"While awarding deterrent sentence, it (court) should consider that they are young and have to look after their family," the counsel said.

It further said that their crime was not committed in gruesome manner. "So it does not fall under rarest of rare cases".  

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