Life term for 17 cops in fake encounter

CBI court says no death penalty as case not 'rarest of rare'

Life term for 17 cops in fake encounter

Seventeen policemen convicted in the fake encounter of a 22-year-old MBA student in Uttarakhand 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 17 policemen had been held 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 cops were handed life terms as the court said the crime committed by them does not fall in the “rarest of rare” category that warrants capital punishment.

Parents of the victim—Ranbir Singh—present with other family members in the courtroom immediately expressed disappointment, saying they would like to see all the policemen hanged, and that they would approach a higher court against the verdict.

“I want death for all the policemen who killed my younger son,” said the victim’s tearful mother.

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 children. “Where will we go? He (Santosh) is the only earning member in the family,” she shouted, before being taken out of the courtroom.

Detailing the facts and circumstances of the case, Special CBI Judge J P S Malik said, “The case is purely based on circumstantial evidence, and the 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 cases. 

“Policemen at Dalanwala and Nehru Colony police station and the Special Operation Group (SOG), all of the Dehradun city, were involved. A (accused)-3 Rajesh Bhist, A-16 Inderbhan Singh, A-13 Vikas Chander 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 the SOG, and rest of PS Dalanwalla. What the common thread between the three was has not been revealed,” added the court. 

In his verdict, the judge also observed that the scene of the crime, in Ladpur forest, is within the jurisdiction of Raipur police station in Dehradun, and the then President of India was visiting the city on the July 3, 2009.

“The city was on high alert but policemen from the Raipur police station were nowhere,” said the court.

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