HC Notice to Cops in Phoolan Devi Murder Case

New Delhi
HC Notice to Cops in Phoolan Devi Murder Case

Delhi High Court today sought response from the city police on Sher Singh Rana's plea against his conviction and life sentence awarded for murdering bandit-turned-Lok Sabha member Phoolan Devi here in 2001.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Ashutosh Kumar directed Delhi Police to file their reply before February 25 on Rana's plea challenging trial court's August 8, 2014 verdict convicting 35-year-old Rana but acquitting 10 other co-accused in the case.

Rana in his appeal sought setting aside of the sessions court decision, saying it had failed to consider the mitigating circumstances.

Terming the trial court judgement was "bad in law", he had claimed that the judge had not considered the material evidence in his favour.

Rana, awarded life term on August 14 last year, was held guilty of offences under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (common intention) under IPC in the case. However, all the accused were acquitted of the charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.

In a related development today, Rana and Shekhar Singh failed to file their responses on a plea of Delhi police challenging their acquittal from the charge of criminal conspiracy.

37-year-old Phoolan Devi, then a Samajwadi Party MP from Mirzapur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, was shot dead from a close range by three masked gunmen in front of her Ashoka Road residence in the heart of the capital's VIP area when she returned home for lunch after attending Lok Sabha session on July 25, 2001.

The court had not awarded death penalty to Rana saying, it would be "completely disproportionate" to the crime committed by him as his act cannot be termed as an attack on Parliament and did not fall under the rarest of rare category.

The proceedings against accused Pradeep Singh were abated after he died in Tihar Jail in November 2013. 

Delhi Police had chargesheeted 11 men accusing them of eliminating Phoolan to avenge the 1981 Behmai massacre in which she had allegedly killed a number of Thakurs.

Besides Rana and Shekhar, the court had also acquitted Dhan Prakash and Sharavan Kumar in the case due to lack of evidence against them.

The police, however, approached the court challenging their acquittal saying the trial court has wrongly freed the four accused persons. The court had then issued notice and sought their replies.

However, the police informed the court today that the notices were not served upon Prakash and Sharavan.

The court has now sought responses of all four by the next date of hearing on February 25.

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