More than 20 years after the Uttar Pradesh police claimed to have gunned down four criminals in an encounter in Bhojpur in November 1996, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad on Monday held four cops guilty of murder, destruction of evidence and giving false evidence.
CBI’s Special Judge (anti corruption) Rajesh Chaudhary on Monday held the then station house officer Lal Singh, sub inspector Joginder Singh and two constables Surya Bhan and Subhash Chand as guilty for murder. The fifth accused Ranbir Singh died during the trial.
“The case had evoked a wide public outrage and the bodies of the victims were cremated as unclaimed. Their families could not even get a last glimpse of the victims. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on February 22,” said Rajan Dahiya, public prosecutor, CBI.
During the alleged encounter at Machli Bazar area in Ghaziabad district, victims Jalaluddin, 17, and Pravesh, 17, sustained five gun shots each while a single bullet each was recovered from their bodies. The other two victims, Ashok, 17 and Jasbir, 23, sustained two shots each while a single bullet each was recovered from their bodies.
Forensic investigations nailed the policemen’s lies.
“The country-made weapons which police claimed were recovered from their possession, did not match the bullet claimed to have been fired by the victims. The weapons were found planted. One bullet recovered from the body of Jasbir was found to be fired from the official revolver of IPS officer Jyoti Belur. It is not yet clear whether she had the possession of the weapon or not. She was not an accused in the case but summoned as accused by the CBI court during trial. Proceedings against her will commence once she appears in the court,” Dahiya added.
The former 1996 batch UP cadre IPS was on her first posting as circle officer in Modi Nagar. She is said to have resigned in 2007. Currently in the United Kingdom, she has not appeared in the court despite summons.
All four victims killed during the alleged encounter hailed from poor families and had gone to Pilkhuwa in search of daily wage job on November 8, 1996. They were sitting at a tea stall outside the Bhojpur police station and were called by the police personnel inside the police station where they were tortured before being killed in a fake encounter at Machli Bazar area nearby.