Police suspect underworld hand in Phoolan's murder


NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police are investigating a suspected link between the killers of Phoolan Devi and Mumbai's underworld. The suspicion of an underworld connection was raised after the police discovered that prime suspect, Sher Singh Rana alias Pankaj, was a frequent visitor to some cities in Maharashtra.

Rana, who used to move along with his accomplices, is feared to be an operative for a Mumbai don who specialises in contract killing. The Delhi Police have collected evidence indicating movement of Rana's gang in Maharashtra.

The police say Rana's gang recently robbed a car from that state. The Delhi Police will now contact Mumbai police and other security agencies to find out Rana's involvement in other crimes there.

The Phoolan case may take a new twist if the suspected underworld links of Rana's gang are established. "It may become difficult to identify the real conspirator of the assassination if the killing was carried out with the help of an underworld don," said an investigator.

Information collected about Rana's operations in UP and Uttaranchal has already confirmed his links with the local police. "Despite being involved in crimes like murder and dacoity, he was never arrested. He also was a frequent visitor to his local police station," said a Delhi Police official.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police has launched a hunt for other members of Rana's gang. The police suspect his accomplices include his younger brothers Raju and Vikram, both are absconding. Other suspected to be in his gang are: Amit, Ashutosh, Vicky and Shravan. His associates, Shekhar, Rajbir an Rajinder, are already in custody.

Police suspect the conspiracy behind Phoolan's assassination is a brainchild of a seasoned criminal. "There are indications that months of planning may have gone into chalking out the murder," said an investigator.

As indicated so far, the conspirator appears to have a good knowledge of law. This was amply displayed in his bid to hand over Rana to Delhi Police custody after creating an alibi about his presence in Hardwar jail on the day of the killing.

The Delhi Police is still to interrogate Phoolan's husband, Umed Singh, on his movements on the assassination day. Whether Singh was at his first wife's home in Timarpur or at Kashmere gate between 1 pm and 1.30 pm remains to be confirmed, said an official.

Umed had claimed he was at Kashmere Gate when the murder took place. Incidentally, even the suspected assailants reportedly went to Kashmere Gate area after killing Phoolan.

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Referred by: Mukundan C.M.
Published on:August 3, 2001
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