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Delhi shootout: Guilty cops to be sentenced today
October 24, 2007 03:25 IST
A Delhi court is on Wednesday likely to pronounce the quantum of punishment to suspended ACP S S Rathi and nine other Delhi Police personnel, convicted last week for killing two businessmen in a fake shootout at Connaught Place in the city a decade ago.
The policemen, who face a minimum punishment of life imprisonment, may also get the capital punishment if Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar concludes that their offence fell under the 'rarest of rare category.'
The court, on October 16, had held Rathi and others guilty under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (destruction of evidence), 193 (giving false evidence) and 120B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Holding that the policemen had no right to take away the life of even a desperate criminal except in an actual encounter, it has convicted them for gunning down businessmen Pradeep Goyal and Jagjit Singh under mistaken identity on March 31, 1997 near Statesman building at Connaught Place.
"It is proved that under the command and supervision of the then ACP Rathi, the accused persons had fired at the Esteem car and on its occupants," the judge had said in his 66-page verdict.
Apart from Rathi, those convicted are -- Inspector Anil Kumar, SI Ashok Rana, Head Constables Shiv Kumar, Tejpal Singh, Mahavir Singh, Constables Sumer Singh, Subhash Chand, Sunil Kumar and Kothari Ram.
Noting that the policemen had fired at the victims with 'an intention to kill,' the court had discarded the accused persons' self-defence theory, which claimed that the first shot had come from the victim forcing them to retaliate.
"The circumstances clearly show that there was no firing from inside the car, therefore the plea of self-defence taken by the accused persons stands proved false," the judge had said, adding the testimony of eye-witness Tarunpreet Singh, sitting in the car during the firing, had proved it.
It had further held that the accused 'planted' the weapon in the victim's car to corroborate their claim.