New Delhi: Sher Singh Rana`s presence at Phoolan Devi`s residence since the morning of the incident day and his failure to explain as to how the assailants, who shot dead the slain MP, used his car in fleeing from the spot sealed his fate with a Delhi court convicting him for killing the bandit-turned-politician in 2001.
Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar, who on August 8 held Rana guilty of offences under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (common intention) under the IPC in the case, concluded in his verdict that he was either one of the two assailants who had fired at Phoolan and her personal security officer (PSO) Balender on July 25, 2001 or was the third one who drove away the car.
"The net result of the aforesaid discussion is that the prosecution has been able to prove that accused Sher Singh Rana, who was present at the house of Phoolan Devi since morning on July 25, 2001 was found absent right from the time of the incident and that the assailants used his car in fleeing from the spot," the judge held in his 217-page judgement.
The court had on August 8 convicted Rana in the case while it had acquitted 10 other co-accused in the sensational murder of Phoolan who was then a Lok Sabha MP.
The court, in its verdict, noted that three persons were
involved in the shooting incident, of whom two had fired at Phoolan and her PSO while one drove away the car in which they fled the spot.
"However, it is clear form the overall facts and circumstances of the case that there were indeed three persons involved in the actual shooting incident and out of them while two fired towards Phoolan Devi and Balender, the third drove away car No. CIM-907 facilitating the escape of the two shooters from the spot," the court, which is scheduled to pronounce the quantum of sentence tomorrow, said.
"These circumstances coupled with non-furnishing of any explanation by accused Sher Singh Rana as regards his presence or the circumstances in which his car No.CIM-907 came to be used by the assailants is in itself sufficient to draw the conclusion that accused Sher Singh Rana was either one of the two assailants who fired at Phoolan Devi and Balender or was their third accomplice who drove away car... Facilitating the escape of two shooters," it said.
The court, however, clarified the prosecution has not been able to establish the identity of the two other persons who were involved in the crime.
"It is thus clear that the murder of Phoolan Devi or the murderous attack upon Balender was carried out by accused Sher Singh Rana in furtherance of common intention shared by his two other accomplice whose identity though otherwise could not be established by the prosecution in the present case," it said.
The court, in its verdict, also held although the finger prints of Rana tallied with one of the two pistols which were recovered from the car, "the said aspect is not free from doubts..."
It said the two "extra judicial confessions" made by Rana, one at a press conference at Dehradun and the other at the Dallanwala police station there, provides yet another link to the circumstantial chain of circumstances.
"Thus, the aforesaid incriminating circumstances which stands proved on record against accused Sher Singh Rana form such a continuous and complete chain of incriminating circumstances which are explainable only on one hypothesis which is consistent with the guilt of accused Sher Singh Rana only and is not explainable on any other ground much less being consistent with the innocence of accused Sher Singh Rana," the judge said.
The court, in its judgement, also held that Rana`s guilt in murdering Phoolan and attempting to kill Balender stands proved beyond shadows of all reasonable doubts.
"....It is thus clear that though any conspiracy to commit murder of Phoolan Devi or that of Balender having been hatched by Sher Singh Rana along with other co-accused persons could not be proved by prosecution but at the cost of repetition I may state that the guilt of accused Sher Singh Rana qua the murder of Phoolan Devi and his act of attempting to commit murder of Balender in furtherance of common intention shared by him with two other persons stand amply proved beyond shadows of all reasonable doubts," it said.