Seventeen Uttarakhand policemen, convicted for the abduction and murder of a 22-year-old MBA graduate in Dehradun on July 3, 2009, were on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI court here.

“The conspiracy to abduct Ranbir Singh, knowing that he may be killed or to kill him, in fact, was clear and it is the only hypothesis which could be established from the circumstances and none other,” Special CBI Judge J.P.S. Malik said in his verdict.

The court said from the circumstances it was clear that Ranbir was killed in indiscriminate firing by the then Inspector Santosh Jaiswal, sub-inspectors Gopal Dutt Bhatt, Rajesh Bisht, Neeraj Kumar, Nitin Chauhan and Chandra Mohan and constable Ajeet Singh, who have also been fined Rs. 50,000 each.

The other convicts — constables Satbir Singh, Sunil Saini, Chander Pal, Saurabh Nautiyal, Nagendra Nath, Vikas Chandra Baluni, Sanjay Rawat, Mohan Singh Rana, Inder Bhan Singh and Manoj Kumar — have been fined Rs. 20,000 each.

The entire amount of fine, if realised, will be given to Ranbir Singh’s family. The case has been referred to the Delhi Legal Services Authority for recommending compensation.

Citing reasons for the case not falling in the category of rarest of rare cases, the court said: “The case is based on circumstantial evidence; conviction is based on conspiracy between the convicts and [I] do not think that they would be a menace to the society.”

It also said most of the convicts, particularly constables, were of a young age and not armed at the time of the incident. Jaspal Singh Gosain, guilty of only framing incorrect records, was sentenced to two-year imprisonment, which he has already served.