17 Uttarakhand police officers were awarded with life imprisonment for conviction in the fake encounter of Ranbir Singh, 22 year old MBA graduate in a jungle near Dehradun, in 2009. The prosecution was successful in proving that the crime site was doctored. On 3 July, 2009, Ranbir was gunned down by Dehradun Police on accusations that he was a part of an extortion racket in Doon valley. The case was first investigated by CB-CID and was then transferred to CBI. After a petition by Ranbir’s family, the trial was transferred from Dehradun to Delhi.
The policemen were held guilty on June 6, by Special CBI judge J.P.S. Malik, for conspiracy to kidnap and kill Ghaziabad resident. They were charged under Sections 302, 364, 120B, 201 and 218 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The court also imposed a fine of Rs. 50,000 each on seven Police officers--six Sub-Inspectors Santosh Kumar Jaiswal, Gopal Dutt Bhatt (SHO), Rajesh Bisht, Neeraj Kumar, Nitin Kumar Chauhan, Chander Mohan Singh Rawat and Constable Ajit Singh. It has also directed 10 other policemen, convicted for conspiracy to kidnap and kill Ranbir, to furnish a fine of Rs. 20,000 each.
The convicted policeman Jaspal Singh Gosain, the head operator at city control room was awarded two years imprisonment, which he had already undergone during trial. He was earlier convicted of framing incorrect record with an intention to save a person from punishment (section 218 IPC). He was directed to furnish a bail bond of Rs. 50,000 and a surety of the like amount.
The collected fine will be given as compensation to the family of the victim. The family however, was reportedly unhappy with the verdict. Ranbir’s mother was quoted as saying, "I want death for all the policemen who killed my younger son."
Even the CBI had sought death penalty for the convicted policemen, terming it as a rarest of rare case by asserting that they had behaved in a “predatory manner”.
CBI counsel and senior public prosecutor Brajesh Kumar prosecutor reportedly said: "They (police) were the protectors of law but they behaved in a predatory manner. They should have given protection to the victim, but they killed him in a fake encounter (staged shootout)."He added that capital punishment to the guilty policemen will convey a strong message, and "no public person in future can even think of doing such crimes".
IBNlive reported the prosecution lawyer, A.T. Rao as stating the further course of action. He said, "Life sentence is equally bad because they will stay in jail only. The father wanted them to be hanged but at least some justice has been done. We are looking at the order in detail. We may go to the High Court".
However, defense lawyer S.P. Singh Rathore alleged that the court pronounced the verdict under media pressure.
The Court also asked the police to provide adequate security to the policemen while transportation between jail and court, due to apprehension on the part of the Tis Hazari lock up in charge that the convicts may harm each other. They had been blaming each other for the conviction.While social rights groups often indict law enforcement agencies, with accusation of torturing and killing people in custody to make them confess, the conviction of 17 police officers in a single case is being measured as an unparalleled moment in India’s history.
Legal News India, Supreme Court News, Indian Legal News, Dehradun Fake Encounter Case.