So finally Sher Singh Rana has been convicted for the murder of Phoolan Devi after 13 years. The only surprise is that it took the police so long to prove an almost open and shut case. But that is just like everything about Rana- dramatic.
The news that Sher Singh Rana had killed the former dacoit who later became an MP was itself very shocking for people in Dehradun . I was working there for the Hindustan Times at that time and when his picture was flashed in newspapers my daughter who was a student in girls college said, “How can he be a killer, he is such a handsome boy.”
Rana had contested the elections to the famous DAV College that year and his pictures were plastered all over the city and so every student knew him in town.
But he had killed Phoolan Devi in broad daylight outside her Ashoka Road residence in Delhi and there could be no two ways about it. And he managed to dodge as well as fool the police till he himself decided to surrender.
The surrender itself was unprecedented. Rana called up the media and told them that he wanted to surrender after addressing a press conference at the Press Club in Dehradun. When one of my friends from the press, who is now teaching journalism, asked him why he did not go to the police for surrendering he said that if he went to the police he would be killed in an encounter.
This also meant that he wanted to say something to justify his act. Unfortunately he could not meet the media because a TV channel reporter informed the police about his plan and as soon as he reached the Press Club he was taken into custody. For many days the Uttarakhand Police and Delhi Police were contesting the other’s claim as who had actually arrested him.
The fact remains that even while the police was trying to locate his whereabouts an alibi for Rana was appearing in a court in Roorkee for some other offence. Finally a constable who used to accompany him to court recognized the fraud when he saw Rana’s picture on TV.
He was put in Tihar Jail, supposed to be the most high security prison in India and yet he managed to walk out of Tihar when he wanted.
Rana has confessed every detail of how and why he planned the murder of Phoolan to avenge the massacre of Thakurs in Behmai, how he escaped from Tihar and travelled all over Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on forged passports and how he again surrendered after completing his mission- getting the soil from the Samadhi of Priviraj Chouhan in Afghanistan to set up a monument in India.
Everything he said in the book has been established after 13 years of painstaking investigation by the police.
And if Rana is protesting that he had been singled out for conviction in a crime whereas the other accomplices had been allowed to go he has a point.
By: Amitabh Srivastava
Image Source: Sher Singh Rana
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