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Phoolan murder case: Sher Singh Rana convicted, 10 others acquitted

13 years after the sensational murder, which had taken place in the heart of the capital, near Ashoka Road, Additional Session Judge, Bharat Parashar convicted Rana. ‘Except Sher Singh Rana, I am acquitting all the accused. Rana is convicted for the offences under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (common intention) under the IPC,’ the judge said and fixed the matter for 12 August for arguments and pronouncement of quantum of sentence.

The court acquitted Dhan Prakash, Shekhar Singh, Rajbir Singh, Vijay Singh alias Raju (Rana’s brother), Rajender Singh alias Ravinder Singh, Keshav Chauhan, Praveen Mittal, Amit Rathi, Surender Singh Negi alias Suri and Sharavan Kumar.

Rana, while hearing the conviction, asked in the open court, ‘Why have you convicted only me’? the judge said, ‘Because of the evidence and fact, I have found against you, this is the possible judgment I can write. You are free to file an appeal before the high court and challenge my order.’

Rana, Shekhar Singh, Rajbir Singh and Sharavan Kumar were produced in the court from judicial custody while other accused were on bail. Out of the 12 accused, one Pradeep Singh died in Tihar Jail from heart attack in November 2013. During the pendency of the trial, Rana had managed to escape from Tihar Jail on 6 May, 2004. He was later arrested at a hotel in Kolkata on 24 April, 2006, brought back and lodged in the high-security prison.

Phoolan Devi (37), Samajwadi Party MP from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, was shot dead on 25 July, 2001, outside her Delhi residence on Ashoka Road by Rana and his associates in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy, when she was returning home for lunch after attending Lok Sabha.

According to the prosecution, Phoolan had gone to Parliament and Rana was waiting for her to come back for lunch. After she got down from the vehicle Rana fired at her head while Vicky pumped bullets at her stomach. ‘Later, Rana fired indiscriminately at Phoolan who fell on the ground. Vicky fired at her bodyguard who had returned the fire on them, the charge sheet alleged, ‘ said the police. While fleeing the scene of crime, they dropped their country-made pistols. The motive, the police said, was to avenge the alleged murder of Thakurs by her in Behmai in 1981.

Phoolan was subjected to torture and gang rape by upper caste men, leading to her ending up as a dreaded dacoit.
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