By: Kaunain Sheriff M
A Delhi court Monday sentenced all 17 convicted Uttarakhand Police personnel to imprisonment for life in the 2009 fake encounter killing of MBA student Ranbir Singh.
Rejecting the CBI plea for death sentence, Special CBI Judge J P S Malik said the case does not fall in the category of ‘rarest of rare’. The seven convicted under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with Sections 302 (murder) and 364 (kidnapping) of the IPC — Santosh Kumar Jaiswal, Gopal Dutt (SHO), Rajesh Bisht, Neeraj Kumar, Nitin Kumar Chauhan, Chander Mohan Singh Rawat and constable Ajit Singh — have been awarded life imprisonment and fine of Rs 50,000 each.
“We are disappointed with verdict. We will appeal in the High Court for death, only then justice will be done to my son,” said Ravinder Pal, father of the deceased.
Defence counsel R M Tufail said, “We are looking into the details of the verdict. We have a strong case to defend, like the CDR records have not been examined. We will continue to fight the case in the High Court and fix loose ends.”
The court also saw emotional breakdown from both the sides. Wife of Saurabh Nautial, who broke down in the middle of sentencing, made an emotional appeal to the judge to also look into the financial conditions of convicts’ families. She was later moved out of the court room.
As demanded by the public prosecutor, the court ordered that all money collected as fine would be transferred to the victim’s father as compensation.
It has also directed 10 other police personnel — constables Satbir Singh, Sunil Saini, Chander Pal, Saurabh Nautiyal, Nagender Rathi, Vikas Chander Baluni, Sanjay Rawat and Manoj Kumar and drivers Mohan Singh Rana and Inderbhan Singh — convicted under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with sections 364 (kidnapping) and 302 (murder) of IPC to furnish a fine of Rs 20,000 each.
The court said Jaspal Singh Gossain, the then head operator at city control room, was not part of the conspiracy to ‘abduct’ and ‘kill’ the deceased. He has been directed to furnish a bail bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety of the same amount. Gossain had been convicted under section 218 of the IPC (public servant framing incorrect record with an intention to save a person from punishment). Gossain has already served 2 years simple imprisonment.
False cases play havoc with the crime statistics and tend to trivialise the offence of rape.