Eighteen policemen have been convicted of killing a student, who was illegally held in custody and tortured in Dehradun in 2009.
This is likely to be the first case involving the brutal death of a civilian in which so many policemen have been found guilty. The family of the deceased Ranbir Singh, an MBA student, welcomed the court's decision, demanding that all the convicts be hanged. The court will hear the arguments to decide on the quantum of sentence on Saturday while only one police personnel was charged for the offence of a public servant framing incorrect record to save a person from punishment.
"I am happy with the court's judgement. It will act as deterrent and stop such crimes in future," said Ranbir's father Ravindra Pal, who broke down as the verdict was being pronounced. He added that he "he will be relieved only after all the accused are hanged. I want that the court should take the case to its logical conclusion".
The Uttarakhand police caught and killed Ranbir Singh, a resident of Ghaziabad, at Mohini Road in Dehradun on 3 July 2009. Ranbir was in Dehradun with friends for some work. The Uttarakhand police claimed that to have evidence that Ranbir was part of an extortion racket in the Doon valley.
The case was transferred to Delhi in 2011 by the Supreme Court on the plea of Ranbir's father Ravindra Pal. Later, during investigations, the police personnel were charge-sheeted by the CBI in connection with Ranbir's encounter.
The CBI had concluded that Ranbir was killed after being subjected to torture. The agency had also claimed that on the same day, 12 bullets were pumped into Ranbir's body and the incident was passed off as an encounter. There were 27 other deep injuries on his body.
CBI director Ranjit Sinha praised his investigation team. "We are happy, and proud of our investigators. The CBI has lived up to its reputation," said Sinha.
Those convicted for murder under sections 302 and 364 of the Indian Penal Code read with 120B (criminal conspiracy) are sub-inspectors Santosh Kumar Jaiswal, Gopal Dutt Bhatt (SHO), Rajesh Bisht, Neeraj Kumar, Nitin Chauhan, Chander Mohan Singh Rawat and constable Ajit Singh.
The 10 policemen charged with murder and criminal conspiracy are constables Satbir Singh, Sunil Saini, Chander Pal, Saurabh Nautiyal, Nagender Rathi, Vikas Chander Baluni, Sanjay Rawat and Manoj Kumar and drivers Mohan Singh Rana and Inderbhan Singh.
The judge convicted accused Jaspal Singh Gosain under section 218 IPC but released him on the period already undergone behind bars. Gosain, the then head operator at city control room, was directed to furnish a bail bond of Rs 50,000 and a surety of the like amount.