CP fake encounter case: justice delayed but not denied

But what if the victim as intended was a Muslim?
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New Delhi: The Apex Court on 2 May confirmed life sentence to 10 Delhi policemen; including assistant commissioner of police S S Rathi for killing innocent Haryana-based businessmen Pradeep Goel and Jagjit Singh and injuring Tarunpreet Singh in a fake encounter on 31 March 1997 believing them to be gagsters from Uttar Pradesh.

Supreme Court upheld the life term while rejecting the plea of the team leader SS Rathi that he was not directly involved in the shootout as he was sitting in his jeep and had asked the other policemen to intercept the vehicle which was presumed to be driven by gagster Mohammad Yasin. The court said that there was no truth in his plea. Their conviction was upheld by the Delhi High court on 18 September 2009 and against this order they had appealed before the Supreme Court. The apex court in its ruling noted that those responsible for protecting lives of the citizens cannot be pardoned. Justice Bedi, while writing the judgment for the Bench, agreed with the HC that it appeared to be a mindless shooting by policemen unconcerned about its fallout.

Reacting on the Supreme Court upholding life term, Neema Goel, wife of Pradeep Goel in an interview said “justice has been delayed but the fact remains that it was not denied and it will certainly help my husband to rest in peace. It took nearly 10 years to find the accused guilty. I feel relieved as tremendous burden from my shoulder has been now lifted.” She added, “It is the system that has to be blamed. Apart from it a lot of other factors also caused delay like transfer of judges. The Central Bureau of Investigation, the investigating officer and the public prosecutor helped us a lot. On the basis of the support I received from my in-laws, my family I was able to fight for all these years.”

Besides SS Rathi, the other nine convicts are inspector Anil Kumar, sub-inspector Ashok Rana, head constables Shiv Kumar, Tejpal Singh, Mahavir Singh, Sumer Singh, Subhash Chand, Sunil Kumar and Kothari Ram.


31 March, 1997: Haryana-based businessmen Pradeep Goyal and Jagjit Singh are shot dead by a Delhi Police team led by the then ACP S S Rathi in a fake encounter at Connaught Place in New Delhi. Another person Tarunpreet Singh who was along with them survived the attack.
1 April, 1997: In a press conference, Delhi Police claimed to have killed two Uttar Pradesh-based gangsters; investigation was handed over to CBI.
13 June, 1997: Chargesheet was filed by the CBI against the policemen involved in the Connaught Place shootout.
8 September, 1998: A Delhi court framed charges under sections 302,307,120B IPC against 10 policemen including the suspended ACP S S Rathi.
11 November, 1998: Trial began in the court.
16 October, 2007: Court convicts suspended ACP SS Rathi and nine other policemen in the case.
Sept 18, 2009: The Delhi High Court upheld the conviction and life sentence of 10 policemen including ACP Rathi.
23 January, 2008: Delhi High Court refused bail to the 10 policemen.
2 May, 2011: The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal field by police officials and upheld life sentence of 10 Delhi policemen.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2011 on page no. 9

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