The ex-Delhi police officers are accused of killing two innocent businessmen mistaking one of them to be a notorious criminal

The Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved judgment on appeals by convicts in the Connaught Place shoot-out case in which a Crime Branch team of the Delhi police had mistakenly killed two innocent businessmen, taking one of them to be notorious criminal Mohammed Yasin on March 31, 1997.

The ten convicts are the then Additional Commissioner of Police S. S. Rathi; Inspector Anil Kumar; Sub-Inspector Ashok Rana; Head Constables Shiv Kumar, Tejpal Singh and Mahavir Singh; and Constables Sumer Singh, Subhash Chand, Sunil Kumar and Kothari Ram (all since dismissed).

A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice B. N. Chaturvedi and Justice G. S. Sistani reserved the judgment on conclusion of arguments by counsel for the appellants and the prosecution.

The Crime Branch team led by S.S. Rathi had killed the two businessmen in a moving car near the Statesman House, mistaking one of them to be Yasin.

A trial court here in 2007 had sentenced all the ten accused to life imprisonment.

In his appeal, Rathi argued that he had not fired at the vehicle in which deceased business man Pradeep Goel and his associate Jagjit Singh were travelling.

He submitted that he was well away from the crime site when the vehicle was fired at resulting in the death of Pradeep Goel and Jagjit Singh and injury to Tarunpreet Singh, another passenger in the car.

He further submitted that the trial court judge had failed to appreciate evidence on record given by 11 of the prosecution witnesses who testified to the break in the driving side widow screen of the vehicle which indicated that shots were fired from inside it at the cops.

Referring to the deduction by the trial court judge that the accused cops had planted a pistol in the vehicle to prove that shots were fired at the cops from inside it, Rathi submitted that the forensic test had failed to match the fingerprints lifted from the weapon.

Therefore, the trail court had erred in coming to the conclusion, Rathi submitted.

Besides, the Central Bureau of Investigation that investigated the case had recovered empties of cartridges from inside the car.

He argued that since he had been entrusted with the task of nabbing gangster Mohammed Yasin, there was no pre-planning to shoot him.

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