Thirteen Delhi policemen, accused of gunning down a notorious criminal in a staged shootout in 2002, were given clean chit on Thursday by a Delhi court which said they had acted in good faith in discharge of their duties.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav discharged the 13 policemen, including three sub-inspectors of the Special Staff of East Delhi, terming the case as one with "chequered history".
"This court is of the considered opinion that the cognisance against the accused persons in this case cannot be taken. They are accordingly discharged from this case," the CMM said while accepting the closure report filed by the CBI in the matter.
The police personnel who were accused in the case were sub inspectors Vinay Tyagi, Atul Tyagi and Satish Rana, head constables Satinder Singh, Neeraj Kumar and Nagender and constables Prem Pal Singh, Raj Kumar, Hari Om, Naresh Pal, Sudhir Kumar, Rustam Ahmed and Upender.
All the 13 police personnel, who were part of the special staff team headed by SI Vinay Tyagi, were accused of gunning down notorious criminal Rupender alias Kanu Jat at a house at Pandav Nagar in east Delhi in a fake encounter on January 11, 2002 and also of destroying the evidence in the case.
"The act of the accused persons in going to B-49, Pandav Nagar, Delhi, pursuant to a credible information about Kanu Jat, who was wanted in a number of heinous criminal cases of UP and pursuant to the telephonic directions received from their superior officer on the face of it appears to be in discharge /purported discharge of their official duties," the court said.
On January 13, 2002 Jat's father Chander Bhan complained that his son was killed in a fake encounter and that armed police personnel had forcibly entered their house, looted valuables and threw Kanu down from the balcony and gunned him down.
On his plea, the Delhi high court had ordered a CBI probe into the matter.
The Delhi lieutenant governor, however, refused to grant sanction to prosecute the policemen saying that the "accused persons were found to have not acted in a predetermined manner and death of Kanu Jat was found to be natural consequence of the retaliatory firing, while exercising their right of private defence and discharging their duties as officials of Special Staff."
After this the CBI filed a closure report but went on to argue in the court that the court can independently assess the evidence collected by it to see if the accused persons acted in discharge of their official duties.
The CMM, however, observed that "it would be apparent that the CBI had not been able to establish anything on record to hold that the LG did not apply his mind to the facts and circumstances of the case while refusing sanction for prosecution of the accused persons."
Noting that Jat was involved in a string of criminal cases of murder and those under Goonda Act and the Arms Act in Uttar Pradesh and was a proclaimed offender, the court said, "Had Kanu Jat been able to give the accused persons a slip from the spot, then also they would have made themselves liable for a charge of dereliction of duty."
It said the act of the police personnel was duly corroborated from the DD enteries made by them at the police station and the statement of the DCP and their version is further corroborated from the call detail records of the mobile numbers of SI Vinay Tyagi, DCP (East) Manoj Kumar Lal.
It also rejected CBI's argument that there was no evidence that the accused persons were entrusted with the case and that the procurement of arms by them on pretext of investigation of this case is a false defence.
The court also said the CBI did not even look into the call records, the arms used by Jat, the DD entries while probing into the case.
The prosecutor for the Delhi government, Rajiv Mohan, argued the court cannot take cognizance of the matter after the LG has refused to grant sanction and also took exception to the CBI arguing contrary to its stand after filing the closure report.
On January 11, 2002, Vinay Tyagi, received a secret information about the presence of Kanu Jat with large amount of ammunition at a house in Pandav Nagar.
The information was shared with DCP East. Simultaneously, information was received by DCP East by two journalists about presence of wanted criminal in that area and he directed Vinay Tyagi to go to the said house and take necessary action.
Before reaching the house, Tyagi constituted four teams and as soon as they reached the house, Kanu Jat tried to flee.
He also fired at the police team with a revolver, which was later found to be a part of a consignment which was sent from the UK for Pakistan Army. Jat was killed in the ensuing encounter.