The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested four Rajasthan policemen, including two inspectors, in connection with the October 2006 encounter killing of Dara Singh alias Daria on the outskirts of Jaipur. The Supreme Court handed over the investigation to the CBI in April last.

The four officials were part of an 11-member team of the Special Operations Group (SOG), which gunned down the alleged criminal near the Kamla Nagar flyover at Mansarovar. While the SOG claimed that Dara Singh had opened fire on it, his wife, Sushila Devi, moved the court alleging that he was eliminated in a fake encounter.

After the arrest on Friday night, inspectors Naresh Sharma and Nisar Khan, sub-inspector Satyanarain Godara and assistant sub-inspector Surendra Singh were produced in a special CBI court here on Saturday. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate R. K. Joshi remanded them in CBI custody till March 16.

The arrests came soon after the Supreme Court expressed its displeasure over the “slow progress” in the probe and asked the CBI to complete the investigation within two months. The accused were called to the CBI office here for questioning and later formally arrested.

There are indications that the agency may soon act against the then SOG head and another IPS officer, who was posted as Inspector-General in the SOG at the time of the encounter. Sushila Devi alleged that a Minister in the previous BJP regime was also involved in the conspiracy.

Conspiracy

In her first information report registered at the Mansarovar police station, she alleged that the then Additional Director-General, SOG, A. K. Jain; Inspector-General A. Ponnuchami, and others had conspired to kill her husband in a fake shoot-out. As part of the plan, a reward of Rs. 25,000 was declared on Dara Singh's head five days before the encounter.

Sushila Devi said Dara Singh, who the driver for a liquor contractor, got dragged into liquor rivalry between two groups. The group opposing the contractor was allegedly close to a Minister in the BJP-led government.

While declaring a reward against Dara Singh, the SOG claimed that he was an accused in 21 serious criminal cases. But the CBI probe revealed that he had been acquitted in 11 of these cases and the pending ones were petty in nature, he having not been sentenced in any of them. The last case was registered against Dara Singh on January 29, 2005.

Planning a crime

On the other hand, the SOG team claimed, after the encounter, that Dara Singh was a “hardened criminal” and was planning a crime when the police tried to nab him. The SOG team stopped a Rajasthan Roadways bus in which Dara Singh and his accomplice were travelling, but the duo fled and fired at the policemen in a secluded area at Mansarovar.

According to the SOG, Dara Singh was killed in an “exchange of fire,” but his accomplice escaped under cover of darkness. Some of the SOG team members were given promotions after the encounter.

The CBI has reportedly concluded that the SOG officials forcibly took Dara Singh to a secluded place near the Kamla Nagar flyover on the morning of October 23, 2006 and fired at him from close range.

A CBI team has been camping here since March 9 for further investigation and taking action against the accused policemen.