The verdict in the murder case of Congress Councillor Atma Ram Gupta has put the Delhi Police once again in the dock. Three of its officers were convicted on Thursday for destroying evidence in the case.
As per the prosecution’s case, then Congress councillor from Keshavpuram, Sharda Jain, got Gupta murdered as he had started avoiding her. The two shared an intimate relationship, the prosecution had alleged.
The court said Sub-Inspector Sripal Raghav and constables Satender and Rakesh Kumar had tried to dispose of Gupta’s body to avoid investigating the murder.
“They, being police officers, cannot claim that despite seeing a bullet-ridden body they could not ascertain that an offence of murder had been committed,” said Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar, while convicting the three under section 201 of the IPC.
The three officers assisted accused Roshan Singh, the head of the village where Gupta was killed, to carry the body over 2 km and throw it in the “Sanota Canal”. The policemen hoped, thereby, that the case would fall in the jurisdiction of another police station.
Cellphone nailed Jain
The call details of Jain helped nail her as they conclusively proved her presence at Ghaziabad where Gupta was killed four years ago.
Jain had maintained that she never visited Ghaziabad on the day of the murder.
"The prosecution case that accused Sharda Jain indeed visited Ghaziabad on August 24, 2002 vis-a-vis her contention that she never visited the place on the day (of Gupta's murder), I may state that prosecution has once again succeeded in proving this important circumstance,” Justice Parashar said.
A call was received by Jain at 4.18 p.m. on that day, which indicated that she was in fact within the range of Rajnagar tower in Ghaziabad. Similarly, a call was made by her at 1621 hours. This showed that during that period Jain was moving in the area of Raj Nagar, justice Parashar said.
Mobile phone call details of Jain again showed she was at Shalimar Bagh at about 0900 hours, at 1142 hours at Sarai Rohilla, at 1618 hours at Raj Nagar, at 1711 hours at Mori Gate and at 1731 hours at Ashok Vihar.
"Her mobile phone details cast a duty upon her to explain how the calls were made through the tower installed at Ghaziabad," the court said.
The love story
A Municipal Councillor from the Tri-Nagar area in North Delhi, Gupta had met accused Jain, while she was principal of an Aggarwal Model School.
Their relationship soon became intimate and eventually made Jain’s husband leave the house. In course of time, Gupta introduced Jain to the Delhi political circuit. Eventually, with Gupta’s help, Jain won the municipal council elections from Keshav Puram on the Congress ticket. She also became the MCD deputy chairman of Education Committee.
Over time, however, Jain suspected that Gupta was allegedly paying more attention to another woman councilor of Delhi, Memwati Barwala. Smarting under the alleged slight, Jain reportedly complained about Gupta to his friend Dr Mahinder Pal.
She also reportedly asked Pal to tell Gupta to mend his ways as not only had her family life been destroyed on his account but now her political career was also being crippled by him. Jain also told Pal that depressed by Gupta’s behaviour she had tried to commit suicide on October 25, 2000.
Evidently, this did not restore Gupta’s attentions towards her and Barwala continued to be chief guests at MCD school functions instead of Jain, the chairman of education Committee.
The prosecution said it was then that Jain decided to kill Gupta.
With PTI inputs