Over two decades after the sensational murder of ace badminton player Syed Modi, prime accused Bhagwati Singh was on Saturday sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court here.

Additional Session Judge Shashank Shekhar held Bhagwati alias Pappu guilty on two counts under Section 302 (murder) and Section 27 (possessing illegal arms) of IPC and sentenced him to life imprisonment though the CBI had sought death sentence for him.

An eight-time national badminton champion, Modi was shot dead on July 28, 1988 evening at the age of 27 when he was coming out of KD Singh Babu stadium after routine practice. In August 1988, UP government recommended a CBI probe into the case.

A year later, the agency charge sheeted seven persons including Modi's wife Amita and Sanjay Singh, who were discharged of the murder charges in 1990. Amita had later married Sanjay.

Chargesheet was also filed against Akhilesh Singh, Amar Bahadur Singh, Balai Singh, Jitendra Singh and Bhagwati Singh alias Pappu. Akhilesh too was discharged of murder charges in 1996.

While Amar Bahadur Singh was murdered, Balai Singh died during the trial. Jitendra Singh was exonerated by the court for lack of evidence.

Bhagwati will also pay a fine of 50,000, failing which he will serve another three-month jail term.

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