New Delhi, Aug 12 :
A court here Tuesday reserved its order on the quantum of punishment for Sher Singh Rana, convicted of killing bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi, after hearing prosecution plea seeking death and the convict urging the court to pardon him.
Umed Singh, Phoolan Devi’s husband, while talking with IANS, demanded death penalty for Rana.
“A harsh punishment should be awarded to Rana for killing a sitting MP, that too a Dalit woman. It will send a strong message in the society,” Umed Singh told IANS.
Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar fixed Aug 14 as date for delivering the order on the quantum of sentence against Rana.
On Aug 8, the court convicted Rana, who gunned down Phoolan Devi, to allegedly avenging the 1981 Behmai massacre in which she killed 17 people of the Thakur community.
The court convicted Rana on charges of murder and attempt to murder with common intention. However, he was acquitted of charges relating to criminal conspiracy and under the Arms Act.
At the time of her murder, Phoolan Devi, whose dramatic life inspired many books and an internationally acclaimed movie “Bandit Queen”, was a Samajwadi Party parliamentarian from Mirzapur constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
Phoolan Devi was shot dead July 25, 2001, outside her residence at Ashoka Road by Rana and his associates, police said.
“It is an offence of murder which was committed in a pre-planned manner and was meticulously executed by him (Rana). Keeping in view the impact on the society, I request the court to award death penalty, the prosecution told court.
Defence counsel of Rana, advocate Mukesh Kalia countered the police claim and said that this court has mentioned in its judgment that prosecution has miserably failed to prove the motive behind the murder.
Police claimed that many other criminal cases have been lodged against main accused in the case.
At this, advocate Kalia said that his client has been acquitted in many cases. Rana told court that police had lodged false cases against him to tarnish his image.
He pleaded: “I request you to write such a judgement that I could get relief soon. You are sitting in the chair of the God and what you say here comes directly from the God’s mouth.”
Rana said that his father died during the trial and his mother is old and suffering from various ailments.
Rana told court that he wanted to do something better for society.
Besides Rana, there were 11 other accused in the case. One of them, Pradeep, died following a heart attack in Tihar Jail in November 2013 and the others were let off.
Rana was arrested July 27, 2001. However, in 2004, he fled from the high security Tihar Jail.
In 2006, he was arrested in Kolkata, brought back to Delhi and lodged again in Tihar Jail.
“In these 13 years (since his arrest in 2001), nobody can say that I have done anything wrong,” Rana said.