Phoolan murder case gets curiouser and curiouser

Kunal Chauhan

New Delhi, August 1

The Phoolan Devi murder case gets more complicated every day. The case took a new turn today, with Uttaranchal Police suggesting that the accused Sher Singh Rana alias Pankaj Singh could have been in jail on July 25 when Phoolan was gunned down.

Sources in the police told, "Investigations revealed that Rana was lodged in Haridwar jail on July 25 in connection with a 1996 Excise Act case and was released on bail the following day. It was his father who approached the trial court in Haridwar, pleading for cancellation of his bail."

Uttaranchal Director-General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kant Sharan said, "The court cancelled his (Sher Singh Rana's) bail and he was sent to jail. On July 26, his brother Vikram Singh alias Raju, whose name has also figured in the murder case, approached the court with a fresh bail plea and Rana was released the same day."

However, Rana is not the only who is said to have been in jail on July 25. His accomplice Rajinder is also said to have been in jail that day. Delhi Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Qamar Ahmed said, "We received information that Rajinder had been sent to the same jail (as Rana) in an excise case on July 4 this year and was released on July 26."

But sources in the police believe that these are eyewash tactics that the criminals are developing as alibis. Senior police officials told, "Rana is building an alibi for himself by indulging in such details. These details signify that the case has a much larger significance than is being assigned to it." Such details raise questions whether Rana's arrest and the developments today are a part of the big conspiracy hampering the development of the case.

Sources in the police told tehelka, "Rana had come along with Uma Kashyap on that fateful day. Our interrogation has clearly identified as Rana being at the scene of crime. It is still unsure who was present in the Haridwar jail in Rana's place on July 25."

If Phoolan's sister Munni Devi's version is to be believed, then its certain that Rana was definitely involved in murdering Phoolan Devi. Munni Devi told, "I saw, with my own eyes, Rana shooting my sister. All this news of Rana being in jail on that day are lies. He had been visiting our house for the last one and half years. The police is not doing enough to probe deeper into the case."

Munni Devi also charged that the criminals had prepared a plan B to shoot Phoolan Devi in case Rana and his accomplices were unable to kill her. She told, "The two country-made revolvers recovered from the garage of the (Phoolan Devi's) house were supposed to be used against my sister. When Rana shot Phoolan, I saw Ram Chander, a relative of Umed Singh, running towards the back of the house where the weapons were found. It is clear that he was supposed to kill Phoolan if Rana was not successful."

At present, Ram Chander, who was the staff at Phoolan Devi's house, is untraceable and police are on the lookout for him. Police are also on the lookout for Keshav Chauhan, who they believe is responsible for hiding the weapons at the back of the garage.

Munni Devi is not the only one to claim that she saw Rana at the site of the murder. Sources in the police told, "The Phoolan Devi's personal security officer, Balwinder Singh, has also identified Sher Singh Rana as having been present at the scene of the crime."

Balwinder Singh is the only witness who actually saw Phoolan Devi's assailants. At present, he is still recovering from the wounds he suffered during the shootout.

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Referred by: Mukundan C.M.
Published on:August 2, 2001
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