Life imprisonment for 11 cops convicted for Rajasthan ex-royal’s murder in 1985
A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Mathura sentenced 11 policemen, including a former Deputy Superintendent of Police (SP), to life imprisonment on Wednesday, a day after holding them guilty in the controversial 1985 murder of Raja Man Singh. The former royal was shot dead by the police in Rajasthan’s Deeg a day after he crashed his jeep in a fit of anger into a helicopter being used by the then chief minister.
The court also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on each convict.
Judge Sadhna Rani Thakur announced the sentence. The convicts were taken to Mathura Central Jail immediately after the sentencing.
The 11 police personnel are Kaan Singh Bhati (the former Deeg DSP), Virendra Singh, Sukhram, Jagram, Jag Mohan, Sher Singh, Padmaram, Hari Singh, Chhitar Singh, Bhawar Singh and Ravi Shekhar.
The CBI had named 18 policemen in its charge sheet; four of them died during the trial and three others were acquitted.
The verdict came 35 years after Singh was killed in police firing.
Raja Man Singh was the younger brother of the last ruler of Bharatpur, Maharaja Sawai Vrijendra Singh, and son of Maharaja Kishan Singh. Born on December 5, 1921, he studied engineering in England and was a seven-time Independent MLA from Deeg between 1952 and 1984.
Raja Man Singh’s daughter Krishnendra Kaur Deepa was the tourism minister in the last BJP government in Rajasthan. The CBI court hearing was shifted to Mathura from Rajasthan on a plea in the Supreme Court by her in 1990.
Man Singh was shot dead along with his two supporters in police firing in February 1985 after an incident of violence in which then chief minister Shiv Charan Mathur’s helicopter was damaged. Mathur was campaigning for Congress candidate from Deeg, Brijendra Singh, who was contesting against Man Singh. Ahead of a meeting he was to address on February 20, Congress workers removed flags and banners of Raja Man Singh from the area. An enraged Singh reached the meeting venue with his supporters. He drove his jeep into the chief minister’s helicopter.
Curfew was imposed soon after. The following day (February 21, 1985), Singh, according to Deepa, was on his way to surrender to the police who had registered a complaint against him when he was shot dead by Bhati and other policemen who stopped his jeep. Apart from Singh, his supporters, Thakur Sumer Singh and Thakur Hari Singh, were also killed in the police firing.
Deepa said her husband Vijay Singh registered a complaint against the policemen charging them with murder. “We are happy there has been justice after 35 years,” she said.
Vijay Singh was also in the jeep with the former royal when he was killed. “In anaj mandi (grain market) of Deeg, Kan Singh Bhati and other cops waylaid us before they started firing. I managed to survive the police attack,” he said.