Six years later, dead end in staged shootout case

March 27th, 2008 - 11:19 am ICT by admin  

By Ritu Sharma
New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) Thirteen policemen shot dead Rupinder Singh, a wanted man, in a staged shootout in 2002. The initial probe suggested foul play. But the fight for justice by his family has virtually hit a dead end with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filing a closure report. The premier investigating agency cited the denial of prosecution sanction by the lieutenant governor as the reason for its inability to put on trial the accused policemen. Delhi Police raided a house in East Delhi’s Pandav Nagar Jan 11, 2002, following a tip-off that Rupinder alias Kanu Jaat, wanted in many cases in Ghaziabad and Delhi, was hiding there.

According to police, Rupinder fired at them and they fired back in retaliation.

However, as mentioned in its closure report in the Tis Hazari Court in February 2007, the CBI found that the accused policemen killed the victim in a manner to project that he died in a staged shootout.

“The agency was wrong in seeking prosecution sanction. The sanction was required only if the crime is committed while performing official duty. But killing somebody in a staged shootout is not part of the police’s official duty,” Rupinder’s sister Babita told IANS.

Under Section 197 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, a sanction is required for any court to take cognisance of an offence allegedly committed by a public servant in the discharge of his official duty.

The CBI requested Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna to grant sanction to prosecute Vinay Tyagi, Atul Tyagi, Satish Rana (then sub-inspectors), Satinder Singh, Neeraj Kumar, Nagender (then head constables), Prem Pal Singh, Rajkumar, Hari Om, Naresh Pal, Sudhir Kumar, Rustam Ahmad and Upender (then constables).

“There is no option left for the family of the deceased after the appointing authority denies prosecution sanction. Now the matter cannot be proceeded with,” said criminal lawyer R.K. Naseem.

“If a government servant has committed an offence during the course of his duty, prosecution sanction is mandatory to put them on trial. No court can come to the rescue of the victims if the sanction has been denied,” he added.

The CBI probe neither found gunshot residue on the hands of the deceased nor his fingerprints on the revolver allegedly recovered from him. They also found that the deceased was lying on the ground with his hands up.

“It is established that the accused have killed Rupinder to show that he died in an encounter,” the CBI claimed in the report.

Babita, a lawyer by profession, said: “Our family was harassed by Delhi Police who put pressure on us to withdraw our fake encounter case against them.”

Devinder Singh, the elder brother of the deceased, was booked under the Arms Act by Delhi Police which claimed to have recovered a country made pistol and 19 cartridges from him.

But the CBI gave him a clean chit, saying: “No public witness was associated by police during search. In such circumstances the accused (Devinder Singh) cannot be charged and prosecuted for want of sufficient and clinching evidence.”

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