Sunny Sebastian

The incident took place in 2006, during the Vasundhara Raje regime

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government has referred the much talked-about Dara Singh encounter killing case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a “fair and impartial investigation.”

The killing, which took place during the regime of the previous Vasundhara Raje government here in October 2006, had evoked considerable public resentment, especially among the members of the Jat community.

As per Gehlot’s demand

The government decision to hand over the case to the CBI is in consonance with the demand made by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot when he was in the Opposition to get the incident probed along with cases of telephone tapping and spying on MLAs during the Vasundhara Raje regime. An inquiry by a member of the Rajasthan Revenue Board is pending in the incident.

Dara Singh alias Daria Jat, a resident of Mundital in Churu district’s Rajgarh tehsil, was killed in an alleged encounter with the police near Jaipur on October 23, 2006. As per the case registered at the Mansarovar police station in Jaipur, the police had intercepted a bus on its way to Ajmer on the outskirts of the State Capital while in hot pursuit of the Dara Singh gang. The case (396/06) registered against him included Sections 307, 332, 353 of the Indian Penal Code and 3/25 of the Arms Act, besides Section 3 of the PDP Act.

The police had opened fire at the members of the gang who were fleeing once the bus was stopped near Rajendra Nagar. One of the gang members purportedly fired at the police while trying to escape. Once the police returned the fire, Dara Singh was hit. A 315-bore rifle and a pistol were allegedly recovered from him. Dara Singh’s body was cremated in his native village only on the fifth day after his death because of widespread protests in the area. .

‘Police excesses’

The protests were led, among others, by Rajaram Meel, president of the Jat Mahasabha, who alleged police excesses in the case. Soon after, Sushila Devi, wife of the deceased, approached the court of the Additional District Magistrate to file a report. The report was sent to the Mansarovar police station on April 2, 2007, for registration of an FIR.

The complaint from Sushila Devi has names of A.K. Jain, Additional Director-General of Police, A. Ponnuchamy, Deputy Inspector-General, Arshad Ali, Additional Superintendent of Police, Rajesh Choudhary, Sub-Inspector, and Sukbir alias Sukha, a resident of Hanumangarh. Sushila Devi had also approached the Rajasthan High Court in May 2007 seeking action against the authorities on a charge of contempt of court for not initiating proceedings on the earlier court directive.

The widow of the deceased, who charged the police with “faking an encounter” to kill her husband, also pointed out in her complaint that ADG Jain had got a reward of Rs.25,000 announced on Dara Singh’s head six days prior to the encounter to make him fall prey to the police. From January 29, 2005, till the date of the alleged encounter there had been no case registered against him anywhere. Dara Singh was acquitted in 19 out of the 20 cases registered against him, her complaint pointed out.