Phoolan Devi murder: Rana on the run was strong evidence
A court here convicted Sher Singh Rana for killing bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi while observing that he was on the run after the July 2001 crime and was impersonating as someone else while staying in hotels.
"In these circumstances, accused Rana absconding from the house of Phoolan Devi right from the time when the firing incident took place and thereafter staying in hotels by impersonating himself as Anoop Singh operates as a strong incriminating circumstance against him," the court said in an detailed order released Monday.
Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar Friday convicted Rana - who gunned down Phoolan Devi, once popularly known as "Bandit Queen" - to avenge the 1981 Behmai massacre in which she killed 17 people of the high caste Thakur community.
The court observed that Rana clearly failed in explaining his presence at the time of incident.
The court referred to Rana's claim that he was illegally detained by Delhi Police officials July 25, 2001 as a false one.
The court found he was staying in hotel Pramila in Haridwar impersonating as Anoop Singh. Thus, he was not in the custody of police July 25-26, 2001.
"Moreover, there was no reason for Delhi Police if they had already detained accused Sher Singh Rana to take him to Dehradun and make him address a press conference as claimed by Rana," the court said.
"If they were to arrange and manipulate any such press conference, they could have done it in Delhi or in Roorkee to which place accused Sher Singh Rana belonged to."
Phoolan Devi was shot dead July 25, 2001 outside her Ashoka Road residence by Rana and his associates, police said.
It noted that Rana was present since the morning on the day of the incident at the house of Phoolan Devi.
It observed that the accused failed to explain the circumstances in which his car came to be used by the assailants.
"These circumstances coupled with non-furnishing of any explanation by accused Sher Singh Rana as regards his presence or the circumstances in which his car came to be used by the assailants is in itself sufficient to draw the conclusion that accused Sher Singh Rana was either one of the two assailants who fired at Phoolan Devi and constable Balender or was their third accomplice who drove away the car facilitating the escape of two shooters," the court said.
Besides Rana, there were 11 other accused in the case. One of them, Pradeep, died of heart attack in Tihar Jail in November 2013.
Rana was arrested July 27, 2001. However, he fled from the high security Tihar Jail in 2004.
In 2006, he was arrested from Kolkata and brought back to Delhi where he was again lodged in Tihar Jail.
(Posted on 12-08-2014)