Clueless despite confession

Twelve days have passed since Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi was gunned down outside her house. Though the police have identified 12 suspects, they are no closer to working out the case than they were on the day Phoolan was shot. The daily disclosures by the self-confessed prime accused, liquor vend owner Sher Singh Rana, have led to the arrest of seven others and the police are on the trail of five others.

But top cops are wringing their hands in despair at the total 'criminal intelligence' failure exposed by the killing. Sher Singh Rana was a known criminal, a dossier on his activities was available with the Uttar Pradesh Police. Yet, he was able to hob-nob with political leaders and move around without a care in the world.

Senior Delhi Police officers reveal that the moment Rana's involvement came to light, they requested a background check on him from their counterparts. However, all that the background checks revealed was that Rana had a reputation as a local toughie.

It is only now, while in the custody of the Delhi Police, that he has confessed to his involvement in several criminal incidents. So brazen and so sure is Rana that he actually drove to the murder spot in a car that had earlier been used by him in a bank robbery. And while the police is involved in chasing each one of the accomplices that Rana has mentioned, Phoolan's family members are busy hurling accusations at each other. The family feud between Phoolan's sister, Munni Devi, and Phoolan's husband, Umed Singh, is now out in the open. At stake is not only the material wealth of the dead MP, but also her political legacy.

Interestingly, apart from Umed Singh and Munni Devi, both claiming Phoolan's political legacy, Rana, the main accused is also in the running.

"He claims that his motive in killing Phoolan was to became a leader. How the assassination would do that is something that most people cannot understand. But Rana seems certain that he would have won the confidence of the thakur voters after killing Phoolan," explains a senior police officer. "And we have no reason to disbelieve him as of now," he adds. Also on the fringes is Uma Kashyap. This Roorkee housewife-turned-beautician-turned-social worker was the passport Rana chose to gain entry into Phoolan's household. Whether he merely encashed Uma's ambitions to achieve his end or whether she played a bigger role in the conspiracy is another aspect that the police are yet to resolve. Today, at the end of 12 days since the killing, the police may have got a self-confessed killer, but they are still groping in the dark for a motive.

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Referred by: Mukundan C.M.
Published on:August 5, 2001
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