On the afternoon of November 8, 1996, a message regarding the killing of two “criminals” in an encounter and two others while they were “escaping” to nearby fields was transmitted through a radio set to police stations in Ghaziabad’s Modi Nagar area. The message had been sent by the Station House Officer of Bhojpur, Lal Singh.
In the hours that followed, shots were fired by Singh, sub-inspector Joginder Singh, and two constables Surya Bhan and Subhash Chandra. That day, four young residents of Vijay Nagar and Krishnapuri in Ghaziabad were termed “criminals” and shot dead by police officers in Bhojpur area of Ghaziabad.
On Wednesday evening, CBI Special Judge (Anti-Corruption) Rajesh Chaudhary sentenced these four police officers to life imprisonment for the murder of the four young men. The court found them guilty of destruction of evidence, and providing false evidence and information.
“In the presented case, considering the age of the accused, the dependency of their children on them and other facts of the case and circumstances, the court is of the opinion that the present case does not fall under the rarest of rare category. Hence, under section 302, instead of giving the death penalty, it is appropriate to sentence them to life imprisonment,” Chaudhary said in the court order.
The court maintained that the nature of crime committed by the accused was very serious.
While the court had held the four police officers guilty on Monday, arguments over their punishment took place on Wednesday afternoon.
The CBI public prosecutor called for handing a death penalty to the accused because “this crime is not ordinary. It is rather very heinous, brutal murder of four innocents who had no criminal history…”