New Delhi, May 2: The Supreme Court today upheld the conviction and life sentence of 10 Delhi Police officials including an Assistant Police Commissioner for killing two businessmen in a fake encounter in 1997, terming the incident as part of a “common intention” to kill the victims.
The apex court rejected the plea of some of the accused police officers that it was a case of “mistaken identity” and that the firing was done at the specific orders of ACP S S Rathi.
A bench of justices H S Bedi and C K Prasad dismissed the appeal filed by the police officials who had approached the apex court against the verdict of the Delhi High Court.
“We see absolutely no evidence that the firing had been resorted to by the seven appellants on the order of ACP Rathi as we have found that it was pursuant to the common intention of all the accused that the incident had happened.
“It is also relevant that the statements made by these seven appellants are not admissible in evidence against ACP Rathi, being a co-accused,” Justice Bedi writing the jugement observed.
The apex court said the accused police officials were not entitled to the benefit of Section 74 IPC which gives immunity from prosecution in the event of killing a person under a mistaken identity.
“Had the appellants in this set of appeals chosen to come into the witness box to support their plea based on the orders of ACP Rathi, a superior officer, and claimed the benefit of Section 79 of the IPC, something could be said in their behalf but in the face of no evidence the story projected by them cannot be believed.
“On an overall view of the evidence in the case and in the light of the arguments raised by the learned counsel for the parties, we find no fault with the judgments of the trial court as well as the High Court. We, accordingly, dismiss all these appeals,” the bench said.
The high court had on September 18, 2009 upheld the conviction and life sentence of the 10 policemen including Rathi for the killing of two Haryana-based businessmen at Connaught Place here. The policemen had claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.
The high court concurred with the trial court judgement of October 24, 2007 holding them guilty of murder.
The other nine convicts are Inspector Anil Kumar, Sub-Inspector Ashok Rana, Head Constables Shiv Kumar, Tejpal Singh and Mahavir Singh and Constables Sumer Singh, Subhash Chand, Sunil Kumar and Kothari Ram.
A Delhi Police Crime Branch team led by encounter specialist Rathi had on March 31, 1997 fired indiscriminately on a car after suspecting that the businessmen were Uttar Pradesh-based gangsters wanted by the police. PTI