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CP shootout: 10 policemen convicted
October 16, 2007 15:36 IST
Last Updated: October 16, 2007 16:31 IST
Suspended Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police S S Rathi and nine other policemen were convicted by a Delhi court on Tuesday for killing two innocent businessmen in the ten-year-old Connaught Place shootout case.
"All the charges against you (accused) stand proved," Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar said, while holding the policemen guilty under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 193 (giving false evidence) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment to Rathi, Inspector Anil Kumar and eight others on October 24.
Taking strong note of the fabrication of the ballistic report during the investigation, the court also issued a notice against ballistic expert Roop Singh, asking him why criminal proceedings should not be initiated against him.
Earlier, the Delhi High Court had passed strictures against Singh for fabricating the ballistic report in the murder case of model Jessica Lall.
The other convicted policemen are Sub Inspector Ashok Rana, Head Constables Shiv Kumar, Tejpal Singh, Mahavir Singh, Constables Sumer Singh, Subhash Chand, Sunil Kumar and Kothari Ram.
All the policemen face the maximum punishment of death for gunning down businessmen Pradeep Goyal and Jagjit Singh on March 31, 1997.
The court, on October 8, had reserved the verdict in the sensational case. The shootout had led to the removal of then Delhi Police Commissioner Nikhil Kumar, who is now a Congress MP from Bihar.
The investigation in the case was carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which accused the ten policemen of indiscriminately firing at the victims without any provocation near the Statesman House building at Connaught Place on March 31, 1997.
The agency had alleged that the callous action of the policemen was prompted by their desire to obtain promotions by killing the 'gangsters'. The CBI had further contended that to cover up the case, the policemen planted a pistol and a few cartridges inside the car to corroborate their claim that the first fire came from the businessmen. But the forensic report clarified that no shot was fired from the weapon.
Rathi, who remained in jail for over three years along with the other accused after their arrest in July, 1997, had also been charged with giving false information of the incident to higher police officials to maintain his innocence.
The police personnel, however, had alleged that they opened fire on the victims in self-defence as the first shot had come from inside the car and injured a constable.
The defence had further pleaded that it was a case of mistaken identity as the deceased were wrongly identified as Uttar Pradesh-based gangster Yaseen and his associate and that the police had not intended to kill any innocent person.
A few policemen, involved in the shootout, had resorted to the plea that they were merely executing the lawful orders of their senior officers.