“All the charges against you (accused) stand proved,” additional sessions judge Vinod Kumar said, while holding the policemen guilty under IPC sections relating to murder, attempt to murder, destruction of evidence and giving false evidence.
The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on October 24. Families of the two businessmen, Pradeep Goyal and Jagjit Singh, said they would want the convicted policemen to be awarded the death sentence.
“I want death penalty for them. The punishment should be exemplary,” said Pradeep’s wife Neema Goyal. Niranjan Singh, Jagjit’s father, said “my life has been ruined and God will certainly punish the guilty. It was deliberate murder and the culprits should be punished with death”.
In a 66-page order, the court today observed that the policemen had fired with “an intention to kill”, and not in self-defence. The judge said: “It is proved that under the command and supervision of the then ACP Rathi, the accused persons had fired at the Esteem car and its occupants.”
In their defence, the policemen had claimed to have intercepted phone conversations of a dreaded gangster, Mohd Yaseen, through which they learnt that he would be travelling in a blue Maruti Esteem. They said that one of the victims, Jagjit Singh, also matched Yaseen’s description.
The court, however, did not accept this argument, observing that “Mohd Yaseen was a desperate criminal but still had the right to life under the Indian Constitution.”
The other defence argument was that the policemen had fired in self-defence, but it was proved that the pistol which was found in the car had been planted. The policemen had claimed that the driver of the Esteem had opened fire when they knocked on his side of the car. But the prosecution showed photographs which showed that the glass on the driver’s side was intact. The prosecution also showed other photographs which suggested that the victims had been dragged out and shot.
“The circumstances clearly show that there was no firing from inside the car, therefore the plea of self-defence taken by the accused persons stands proved false,” the judge said. “This leads to the presumption that two empty cartridges were planted by the accused persons,” he added. Taking strong note of the fabrication of the ballistic report, the court also issued notice against FSL expert Roop Singh, seeking explanation why criminal proceedings should not be initiated against him. The Delhi High Court had earlier passed strictures against Singh in the Jessica Lall murder case.
The CBI, which probed the Connaught Place case of March 31, 1997, had accused the ten policemen of “indiscriminately” firing at the victims without provocation. The agency had alleged that the policemen hoped to get promotions by claiming to have killed gangsters. The CBI said that to cover up the case, policemen planted a pistol and cartridges inside the car to back their claim that it was the businessmen who fired first.