31 years after staged shootout, three UP cops get the noose

Lucknow, April 5 (IANS) Three decades after the cold-blooded shooting of 12 villagers and a police official, a special CBI court Friday sentenced three Uttar Pradesh Police personnel to death and five others to life in jail.

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court Friday pronounced the sentences on the 18 police personnel convicted in the March 12, 1982 staged shootout killing of the residents of Madhopur village in Gonda district. The 10 other convicts have died during the period of the trial.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) K.P. Singh was also killed in the incident.

Suspecting that the killing was staged, his widow Vibha Singh and Allahabad-based social activist Chitranjan Singh had filed separate petitions in the Supreme Court (SC) which had ordered a CBI prove into the matter.

The premier investigative agency began its probe in 1984 and found 19 police officials to be involved. Charge-sheets were filed against all the accused and in March, after 31 years of legal process, the special CBI court convicted 18 people while accused Prem Singh was let off due to want of sufficient evidence.

CBI judge Rajendra Singh, in his judgment, said there was enough evidence for capital punishment against the then Kaudia station house office (SHO) R.B. Saroj, the then constable Ram Karan Yadav, and head constable R.N. Pandey for plotting to kill the DSP. Ramakant Dixit, Nasim Ahmad, Mangla Singh, Rajendra Prasad Singh and Pervez Hussain were given life sentences for facilitating the crime.

Police officials privy to the case informed IANS that all the accused awarded the death and life sentence had retired from service while only Pandey was still serving and is currently posted as a a sub-inspector in Jaunpur.

Reacting to the sentence, the widows of the victims demanded that the state government give their families ex-gratia payment of Rs.25 lakh each, pension and construct an inter college at Madhopur in the memory of the slain DSP. They have also asked the state government to give jobs to one member from each family that suffered in the staged shootouts.