Thirteen years after bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi was gunned down outside her residence, a Delhi court sentenced her killer, Sher Singh Rana, to life imprisonment on Thursday.
Rana, 35, a Thakur, is believed to have killed Phoolan to avenge the murder of 22 upper caste Thakur men in 1981 in Behmai, Uttar Pradesh, ordered by the “bandit queen”.
Handing out life sentences for Rana for the murder of Phoolan and attempting to kill her bodyguard, the court also fined him Rs 1 lakh. However, it rejected the prosecution’s plea for death penalty, saying it “would be wholly disproportionate to the crime committed”.
Family members and friends of Rana, who were in court, broke down on hearing the sentence.
“Whoever killed Phoolan Devi did so in the name of justice,” his sister Shivani told HT.
Rana’s brother Vijay, a co-accused in the conspiracy to kill Phoolan, who was acquitted, said the family would appeal in the high court against the sentence.
Rana was convicted as his fingerprints were found on the pistol used to shoot the 37-year-old Phoolan and the car in which the killers drove away was found to be registered in his name. He had also given two extra-judicial confessions before the media admitting to the killing.