|Suryakant Dhasmana, vice-president of the state unit of the |
Congress, who has been acquitted in the 1994 Karanpur
firing incident, comes out of the CBI court in Dehradun
Members of Rajesh Rawat’s family, who was killed in the firing, after the pronouncement of the judgment.
A CBI court in a 60-page judgment today acquitted Suryakant Dhasmana, vice-president of the Uttarakhand Congress, of the charges of killing Rajesh Rawat and injuring Ravinder Rawat and Rajiv Mohan in the Karanpur firing case. The trio was part of a mob that had attacked Dhasmana’s house on October 3 in 1994 in the aftermath of the infamous Rampur Tiraha episode case during the agitation for a separate state of Uttarakhand.
However, Pardeep Pant, Judge of the CBI court, sentenced four police personnel on Dhasmana’s security duty to various sentences. The policemen, namely Jaipal, Jasbir, Madan Singh and Jitender Kumar, were held guilty and sentenced to seven years of imprisonment each under Section 304 for culpable homicide and a penalty of Rs 10,000 each was imposed on them. In case the penalty was not paid, they would undergo imprisonment for six more months.
Besides, the accused were also convicted under Section 308 of causing grievous injuries to Ravinder Rawat and Rajiv Mohan and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. The Judge also imposed a penalty of Rs 5,000 each on them and in case of its non-payment ordered them to undergo another six months in jail. They were also held guilty under Section 201 for tampering with evidence and sentenced to two years in jail. The three sentences would run concurrently. Of the total penalty amount, Rs 20,000 would be given to the family of the deceased and Rs 10,000 each to the families of the two injured. The case dragged on for 18 years.
Convicted policemen in civvies.
Dhasmana said opposition parties and leaders of the statehood agitation had attacked him unreasonably. Even the Press had written against him with regard to the case but he never harboured any hard feeling against them and forgave them. The Congress leader added the truth had prevailed ultimately.
Razia Begh, Dhasmana’s counsel, said it was a clear case in their favour as a mob had first burnt Dhasmana’s office at Karanpur in Dehradun and then laid siege to his house and began pelting it with stones. Baljeet Singh, senior counsel for the leader, said nowhere in the case it could be proved that Dhasmana fired a shot from his pistol or any other pistol.
It was on October 3 in 1994 that infuriated at the Rampur Tiraha incident during the government of Samajwadi Party (SP) in the undivided Uttar Pradesh those struggling for a separate state of Uttarakhand first burnt down Dhasmana’s office in the Karanpur locality of Dehradun city and later pelted stones at his house. Dhasmana was a prominent SP leader at that time.
Begh said security personnel had fired into the air eight times to disperse the angry mob. However, on the ninth time a bullet fired by them hit a pillar, ricocheted and hit Rajesh Rawat, killing him. Ravinder Rawat and Rajiv Mohan were injured in the firing.
Dhasmana had filed an FIR against the mob while Harinder Rawat, an uncle of deceased Rajesh Rawat, too filed an FIR against the leader. Two final reports went in Dhasmana’s favour and then following a petition filed by the Uttarakhand Sangharsh Samiti, an NGO, in the Allahabad High Court in 1995 that the case was handed over to the CBI. The CBI then converted the charges filed under Section 302 by the local police into Sections 304, 308, 307, 334 and 201. The trial in the case went on till 2006 when the state government under a general order withdrew all cases pending against the leaders and participants of the statehood agitation, including Dhasmana’s case. But the case against Dhasmana still continued thereafter.