I wanted to become an MP, says Pankaj


NEW DELHI: In a startling disclosure to the police, Pankaj aka Sher Singh Rana has indicated that Mirzapur MP Phoolan Devi's murder was the first step in his ultimate political ambition: to become an MP.

"I want to become an MP after contesting election from a Rajput-dominated constituency," he told the police during interrogation on Saturday, as he elaborated on his intention to avenge the Behmai killings.

Pankaj is 22 years old, three years short of the minimum age required to contest Lok Sabha election, but this is no dampener. "I will turn 25 by the time I come out of jail," he proudly told the Delhi Police.

An unrepentant Pankaj, claim investigators, sees the assassination as a means to acquire instant fame and earning the sympathy of the community whose members were massacred in Behmai. Both things, Pankaj believes, would translate into electoral gains. So sure is he about winning the Rajput sympathy vote that he claimed: ``The best Rajput lawyers will defend me in court.'' The community will also bear the cost of his legal battle, he told the crime branch sleuths.

An officer who interrogated Pankaj said his obsession for using Phoolan's assassination as a launching pad for a political career doesn't appear to be incidental. ``He says his resolve to kill Phoolan originated from wild discussions with his peers on the possibility of the former Bandit Queen's assassination,'' he said.

Pankaj, claim police officials, appears to have taken extensive legal advice before pulling the trigger. ``He seems to have been told that a murder accused can get bail after serving a term of three years. This is why he thinks his turning 25 would coincide with his release from jail,'' says a police official.

It is sound legal advice that influenced his decision to leave behind his weapons in the getaway car. ``By doing so he has not left any scope for any recovery, especially of the weapon, from him. This may benefit him in his defence in court,'' said a police official. But his theories appear to be too simplistic:

* Though two weapons were left behind by the suspect, two more are still to be recovered. That can, technically, still connect him to the crime, besides the second car and the clothes.

* The interrogation of the other accused, as and when they are arrested, needs to match the version given by Pankaj, before the theory put forward by him, can be believed. His personal ambition does not explain why three other associates would agree to join him in the plan, unless there was a monetary spin-off. The police still need to establish how his theory tallies with the timing of the killing, in the backdrop of the fact he knew Phoolan for several years.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: July 28, 2001
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