All 11 former policemen from Rajasthan, convicted for killing Raja Man Singh of the erstwhile Bharatpur royal family and his two colleagues over 35 years ago in Deeg area of the state, were awarded life sentence by a court here on Wednesday.
The convicts, who were sentenced to life term by Mathura District Judge Sadhna Rani Thakur, include former Deeg Dy SP Kan Singh, 82, and local police station in-charge, sub-inspector Virendra Singh, 78, who had led a police team in killing the Bharatpur royal scion and his two colleagues Sumer Singh and Hari Singh on February 21, 1985.
The other policemen sentenced for the crime are ex-ASI Ravi Shekhar and former constables Sukh Ram, Jeevan Ram, Jag Mohan, Bhanwar Singh, Hari Singh, Chhatar Singh, Sher Singh, Daya Ram and Ravi Shekhar, all above 70 years of age.
The encounter had taken place in Deeg grain market a day after Raja Man Singh, then contesting the state Vidhan Sabha election as an independent candidate, had allegedly banged his jeep into former Rajasthan's chief minister Shiv Charan Mathur’s helicopter.
According to the prosecution, he was also accused of damaging some publicity material and a stage set up for Mathur to address an election rally in favour of the Congress candidate Brajendra Singh, a retired IAS officer, the prosecution had told the court.
Days after the killings of the royal family chief and his two colleagues, the case was transferred by the then central government to the CBI on February 27, 1985.
The trial was later shifted from a Jaipur special court to Mathura in Uttar Pradesh by the Supreme Court in November 1989 on the plea of complainant Vijay Singh, a son-in-law of the slain chief of the erstwhile riyasat.
“Besides undergoing life imprisonment, all the eleven convicts will have to furnish a fine of Rs 10,000 each failing which they will have to undergo additional imprisonment of two months each,” District & Session Judge Thakur announced in a jam-packed courtroom.
Besides being held guilty of murder, all 11 former policemen were also convicted for “committing riots armed with deadly weapons” and being part of the unlawful assembly committing an offence with common objective under sections 148 and 149 of the IPC respectively.
For these two offences, all 11 convicts were sentenced to two years and six months respectively in jail and were imposed fines of Rs 2,000 each. All sentences would run concurrently, the court said.
The court also ordered payment of Rs 30,000 to the next of kin of each of the deceased and Rs 2,000 to the four injured persons, Vijai Singh, Chandan Singh, Nawab Singh and Babu Lal, in the encounter.
Out of 18 persons sent up for trial by the CBI, three policemen, Sita Ram, Neki Ram and Kuldeep, had died during its pendency and the case was abated against them.
The three ex-policemen who were acquitted of charges of shielding their colleagues by creating false records are former inspector Kan Singh Shirvi of Bharatpur Crime Branch and head constables Hari Kishan and Govind Prasad.
One former policeman, Mahendra Singh, was discharged in the case.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine