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Dara Singh ‘fake’ encounter case: Rajasthan IPS officer, 13 other cops walk free

A trial court in Jaipur on Tuesday acquitted a senior IPS officer and 13 other serving and retired police officials accused of killing of bootlegger Dara Singh in an alleged fake encounter in 2006.

jaipur Updated: Mar 13, 2018 22:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Dara Singh’s widow, Sushila Devi shows photos of her husband at her residence.(HT File Photo. )

A trial court in Jaipur on Tuesday acquitted a senior IPS officer and 13 other serving and retired police officials accused of killing of bootlegger Dara Singh in an alleged fake encounter in 2006.

The court ruled that the encounter was genuine and the allegation that Dara Singh was liquidated on orders of then minister Rajendra Singh Rathore was found to be untrue, said AK Jain, counsel for A Ponnuchamy, additional director general (ADG) of police and one of the accused.

Liquor smuggler Dara Singh alias Daria, a resident of Churu district, was killed in an encounter with the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police while he was going from Jaipur to Ajmer on October 23, 2006. According to Jain, Singh was a “dreaded criminal of Churu-Sikar area and a known liquor mafia”.

His family had pointed fingers at the then cabinet minister in the Rajasthan’s BJP government and present State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore claiming that Dara was targeted because of personal enmity.

The Supreme Court, following a petition by his widow Sushila Devi, had ordered a CBI inquiry. The CBI, which took over the case in 2010, booked 17 persons in the case including Rathore and former ADG AK Jain. The accused also included Ponnuchamy, additional superintendent of police, SOG Arshad Ali, and members of Ali’s team.

Rathore was arrested in April 2012 and spent about two months in jail before being discharged by a district court. All police officials, including AK Jain and Ponnuchamy spent between two to four years in jail, the lawyer said.

The additional district judge acquitted all the accused in offences under sections including 302 (murder) of IPC, advocate A K Jain said.

“The CBI’s case rested on the call records, not even call recordings. The one mobile number that was shown to be Ponnuchamy’s, was never allotted to him. In addition, the court found the call details doubtful,” said lawyer AK Jain.

He added that other evidences, such as the one that Dara Singh’s weapon was still warm when collected proved that there was cross firing, brought down the CBI’s case. “The CBI also said that that Dara Singh never travelled in the bus. But the bus conductor identified Dara Singh’s photo and testified that he got on to the bus and was caught off by the police,” said Jain.

Former ADG AK Jain was discharged by the high court in the case on February 23, 2015. One Vijay Choudhary, who was accused of aiding the SOG in Singh’s encounter was murdered in November 2015.

However, Sarafaraz Khan, the special public prosecutor for the CBI, said that the court’s detailed order has to be seen before deciding the further course of action.

“Our case was based on circumstantial evidence and oral testimonies. Most of the witnesses turned hostile. And it is to be seen whether the court has appreciated the circumstantial evidence or not,” said Khan.

Those who were acquitted in the case are 1991-batch IPS officer A Ponnuchamy, at present posted as ADG (Police Housing), Arshad Ali (Additional SP rank), Rajesh Chaudhary, Nisar Khan, Subhash Godara, Naresh Sharma (all Inspector rank police officers), Satyanarayan Godara, Surendra Singh, Julfikar, Arvind Bharadwaj (all Sub-Inspector rank), Badri Prasad and Jagram (both Head constable rank), Sardar Singh (police driver) and retired Sub-Inspector Munshi Lal.

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 22:04 IST