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Rajasthan Police officers held for encounter

Special Correspondent

The case relates to killing of Dara Singh on the outskirts of Jaipur on October 23, 2006

The police officers arrested in the Dara Singh encounter case being produced in a Jaipur court on Saturday.

JAIPUR: The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested four officers of the Rajasthan Police, including two inspectors, in connection with the infamous encounter of Dara Singh alias Daria in Mansarovar area on the outskirts of Jaipur on October 23, 2006. The Supreme Court had handed over investigation to CBI in April last year.

The four officers were part of an 11-member team of the Special Operations Group (SOG) which gunned down alleged criminal Dara Singh near the Kamla Nagar fly-over here while claiming that he had opened fire on them. Dara Singh's wife moved the Supreme Court alleging that the SOG had eliminated her husband in a fake encounter.

The arrested officers – Inspectors Naresh Sharma and Nisar Khan, Sub-Inspector Satyanarain Godara and Assistant Sub-Inspector Surendra Singh – were produced in a special CBI court here on Saturday. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate R. K. Joshi remanded the four to the CBI custody till March 16.

The arrests on Friday night came soon after the Supreme Court expressed its displeasure over “slow progress” in the probe and asked the CBI to complete investigation within two months. The accused were called to the CBI office here for questioning and formally arrested.

There were indications that the investigating agency may act soon against the then SOG head and another IPS officer, who was posted as Inspector-General of Police in SOG at the time of the encounter. Dara Singh's wife Sushila Devi had alleged in her complaint that a Minister in the previous BJP regime was also involved in the conspiracy for the encounter.

In her first information report registered at Mansarovar police station, Sushila Devi had alleged that the then Additional Director General, SOG, A. K. Jain, Inspector-General of Police A. Ponnuchami, and others had conspired to kill her husband in a fake shoot-out. As part of the plan, a reward of Rs.25,000 was declared against Dara Singh in a wrongful manner five days before the encounter.

She stated that Dara Singh, belonging to Churu district, was the driver of a liquor contractor and had got dragged into liquor rivalry between two groups. The group opposing him was allegedly close to a Minister in the BJP-led Government in the State.

The SOG had claimed that Dara Singh was an accused in 21 serious criminal cases. The CBI probe revealed that he had been acquitted in 11 of these and the pending cases were petty in nature, while he had not been sentenced in any of them. The SOG team had claimed after the encounter that Dara Singh was a “hardened criminal” and was planning a crime when police tried to nab him. The team stopped a Rajasthan Roadways bus in which Dara Singh and his accomplice were travelling, but they fled and fired on the policemen in a secluded area in Mansarovar.

According to the SOG, Dara Singh was killed in the “exchange of fire”, but his accomplice escaped from the spot taking advantage of the darkness.

Some of the SOG team members were given promotions after the encounter.

The CBI has reportedly arrived at the conclusion that the SOG officials forcibly took Dara Singh to a secluded place near Kamla Nagar fly-over in Mansarovar on October 23, 2006, morning and fired at him from a close range.

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