The convicts in the Bhojpur fake encounter case had submitted 35 affidavits from locals to support their theory. The CBI investigation has revealed that residents who signed the affidavits were pressurised by the convicts.
The encounter took place on November 8, 1996, in which Ashok, Jalaluddin, Pravesh and Jasbir were gunned down at ‘Macheri Ki Puliya’ under Bhojpur police station. After more than two decades of investigation and trials, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court pronounced them guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment on Wednesday.
The court order has a specific mention of the 35 affidavits that were procured from locals and handed to UP police officer, MP Singh, who investigated the incident initially and filed a closure report in five cases, including those against the victims. The affidavits were also submitted before the additional chief judicial magistrate court along with the case closure report.
The CBI investigation later revealed that the locals were pressurised into signing the affidavits. Prosecution witness Rahisuddin said that one Iqbal had taken him to the station house officer of Bhojpur and made him sign a blank paper. Another witness, Mohammad Ali, also said that he had only placed his thumb impression on the paper, but he did not know its contents.
Another witness Praveen Bhargava said that Joginder Singh, one of the convicts, had made him sign a blank stamp paper. Another witness Chiranji Lal said that he had no knowledge of the incident that took place on ‘Macheri Ki Puliya’ but he did not file an affidavit.
“It is proved from the statements of the witnesses that accused persons had pressurised the witnesses to sign on blank papers and stamp papers to prove the fake encounter as genuine,” the court order stated.
Based on documents and witnesses, the court also found that the victims had no criminal records in nearby police stations of Modi Nagar, Bhojpur, Niwari and Modi Nagar, prior to the incident. Five cases were lodged after the fake encounter case.
The Bhojpur police station was in news earlier also when encounters took place under the area in 1994, 1995 and 1996. The police personnel and officers involved in 1994-1995 encounters were given successive promotions and rewards, the court order stated.
The CBI had maintained that rewards and promotions were the motives for the fake encounter; a practice prevalent then. “None of our clients were given successive promotions or rewards. Their promotions, if any, were earned during their routine service. We will now file an appeal against the CBI court order at the high court,” RC Saxena, advocate for Lal Singh and Joginder Singh, said.
It is stated that Lal Singh retired as a circle officer while Joginder Singh opted for voluntary retirement six months ago. Constable Subhash Chand, a new recruit then and constable Surya Bhan were posted at Khurja and Banda, respectively, before being held guilty by the court.