31 years on, 8 cops convicted in Gonda fake encounter case

Thirty-one years after a deputy SP-rank officer and 12 innocent villagers were gunned down in a fake encounter in Gonda district, a CBI court on Friday held eight policemen guilty and fixed April 5 for pronouncement of sentence.

The CBI, which investigated the case on the direction of the Supreme Court, had filed the chargesheet against 19 policemen. As many as 10 of them died during the trial.

Senior Public Prosecutor Sanjay Kumar said Special Judge Rajendra Singh convicted eight cops on charges including murder and conspiracy, while one of them, Prem Singh, was acquitted for want of evidence. Those convicted were sent to jail. They were R B Saroj, Rama Kant Dixit, Pervej Hussain, Ram Karan, N Ahmed, Ram Naik Pandey, Rajendra Prasad Singh and M Singh.

Kumar said during the trial it came to light that then sub-inspector R B Saroj developed enmity with Dy SP K P Singh as he had conducted an inquiry into charges against him. Yashpal Singh, then SP of Gonda, had ordered the inquiry on complaints of malpractices against R B Saroj, who headed a police station. After the inquiry, he was removed.

According to prosecution, on the intervening night of March 12 and 13, 1982, a police team went to the house of one Ram Baran Shukla at Madhopur village under Katra Bazaar after getting information about the presence of Ram Bhulawan and Arjun Pasi, both members of a criminal gang. The police team, which was led by the SP, was divided into three groups.

Deputy SP K P Singh, who led one of the groups, went to the house of Ram Baran and made several knocks on the door. When no one responded, Singh turned around and was shot by R B Saroj in the chest. Singh was taken to hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.

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