A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday awarded life imprisonment to three former Uttar Pradesh police officers who were found guilty in a fake encounter case.
The three — then inspector Arun Kaushik and two former constables Bhagwan Sahai and Surender Singh — had shot dead a young woman while her friend sustained bullet injuries in the jungles of Siwaya under Daurala police station area of Meerut in 2000. According to the prosecution, Smita Bhaduri and her friend Mohit Tyagi were fired upon while seated inside a Maruti Zen car. They were both pursuing their graduation studies.
“The court on Monday awarded life imprisonment to all three accused in the case. They were present in the court where we demanded maximum punishment,” said BK Singh, senior public prosecutor, CBI.
“The CBI had demanded maximum punishment but the court turned down the plea. We argued that the case does not fall under the category of ‘rarest of rare.’ The court announced life imprisonment for the three policemen,” said Sudhir Tyagi, one of the lawyers of the accused.
It has been 15 years since the incident happened and Smita’s friend Mohit was one of the key prosecution witnesses in the case.
In all, the CBI produced 21 prosecution witnesses while the defence lawyers relied on the testimony of one forensic expert. During the course of the trial, Kaushik retired from service while the two constables took voluntary retirement.
The defence lawyers had earlier argued that the woman was gunned down by some criminals who were being chased by the police. However, the court rejected this story.
The incident took place near the jungles of Siwaya area on January 14, 2000. Smita sustained a bullet wound in her neck, which led to her death while Mohit sustained a bullet on his back.
Following the incident, an FIR was filed at Daurala police station in Meerut but the case was later transferred to the CBI in April 2000. The chargesheet was filed by the CBI in 2004 and the charges against the three policemen were framed in 2005.