A Delhi court on Friday convicted 17 officers of the Uttarakhand Police for killing a 22-year-old MBA student in a 2009 fake encounter that had rocked the hill state.
This is the highest number of police personnel to be convicted in a fake encounter case till date.
CBI special judge JPS Malik convicted seven officers of murder while the remaining 10 were found guilty of conspiring to murder and framing incorrect records.
The court will decide the quantum of punishment on Saturday. The Supreme Court had in May 2011 said that every fake encounter case where police personnel are found guilty should be treated as ‘rarest of rare’ and the guilty should be given the death penalty.
On July 3 2009, 18 police officers had arrested and gunned down Ranbir Singh — a young student from Ghaziabad — after catching him with friends at Mohini Road in Dehradun, allegedly trying to commit a crime. Ranbir’s father Ravindra Singh had told the media that his son had been shot 29 times by the police.
The 18 cops had been chargesheeted by the CBI in December 2009.
Appreciating the “professional job” of the agency officers, CBI director Ranjit Sinha said, “The investigation was difficult as it was a criminal conspiracy hatched by the police itself. But I am happy that our stand has been vindicated by the trial court.”
“The guilty police officers were booked for murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence,” Sinha added.
The case had also been transferred to Delhi from Uttarakhand by the Supreme Court on Ravindra Singh’s plea.
The seven officers accused of murder include inspector Santosh Jaiswal, sub-inspectors Gopal Dutt Bhatt, Rajesh Bisht, Neeraj Kumar, Nitin Chauhan and Chandra Mohan, and constable Ajeet Singh.
The other 10 – constables Satbir Singh, Sunil Saini, Chander Pal, Saurabh Nautiyal, Nagendra Nath, Vikas Chandra Baluni, Sanjay Rawat, Mohan Singh Rana, Inder Bhan Singh and Manoj Kumar – were convicted for related offenses.
The 18th accused, Jaspal Singh Gosain – head operator at city control room— was held guilty for tampering with evidence but was released on the period already served in jail.
(with inputs from HTC, Delhi)