Sher Singh Rana, the lone convict in the sensational murder of bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi in 2001, was awarded life imprisonment on Thursday by a Delhi court which also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on him.
Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar pronounced the order on sentence in a jam-packed courtroom where some of the family members and supporters of Rana were also present.
“For offence under Section 302/34 IPC, I award you life term and Rs 50,000 fine. . . For offence under Section 307, I award you life term with a fine of Rs 50, 000,” the judge said, adding that if Rana failed to deposit the penalty imposed on him, he will have to undergo six months imprisonment each in default.
The court had on August 8 convicted Rana while it acquitted 10 other co-accused in the sensational murder of Phoolan who was then a Lok Sabha member.
Rana was held guilty of offences under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 34 (common intention) under the IPC in the case.
During the arguments on quantum of sentence earlier, prosecution had sought death penalty for Rana contending that he had committed Phoolan’s murder in a pre-planned and meticulous manner.
Rana had sought leniency from the court, saying it should pardon him once and that his image has been tarnished by the police by lodging “false cases” against him.
“You (judge) are sitting on the chair of the God and what you say here comes directly from God’s mouth,” Rana had told the judge, adding that “You (judge) have pardoned the prosecution in this case so please pardon me also.”
However , the judge said in his 217-page judgement, “the net result of the aforesaid discussion is that the prosecution has been able to prove that accused Sher Singh Rana, who was present at the house of Phoolan Devi since morning on July 25, 2001 was found absent right from the time of the incident and that the assailants used his car in fleeing from the spot.”
The court, however, had clarified the prosecution has not been able to establish the identity of the two other.
37-year-old Phoolan, then a Samajwadi Party MP from Mirzapur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, was shot dead from close range by three masked gunmen in front of her Ashoka Road residence in the heart of the capital’s VIP area as she returned home for lunch after attending Lok Sabha on July 25, 2001.