New Delhi, (IANS) A court here will deliver Tuesday its verdict in the sensational Connaught Place shootout case in which a Delhi Police team killed two businessmen in March 1997, mistaking them to be mobsters.
The much-awaited ruling in the decade-old case would decide the fate of now-suspended Assistant Commissioner of Police S.S. Rathi and nine other policemen who gunned down businessmen Pradeep Goel and Jagjit Singh March 31, 1997.
The killing in broad daylight of two innocent citizens by a trigger-happy police team had seen then Delhi Police commissioner Nikhil Kumar taking responsibility for the incident and quitting his post.
Kumar, now a Congress member of the Lok Sabha, had described the killings as “a genuine case of mistaken identity”.
After the incident, the police had claimed that they opened fire on the two car-borne businessmen as they had “information” that a “dreaded gangster” would be visiting Connaught Place around 12 noon in a black Maruti Esteem car that bore a particular number.
As it happened, the number and colour of the car matched the information with the police. They opened fire on the vehicle after its occupants refused to surrender when challenged by the police team, which had been tailing them.
The case was later transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which indicted the entire 10-member police team and prosecuted it for the killings.
The designated CBI court of Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar reserved its judgement on Oct 8 after hearing final arguments by various parties, including the CBI and the defence.
During the arguments, the CBI had contended that the Crime Branch team of Delhi Police had, without any provocation, resorted to indiscriminate firing at the two businessmen on Rathi’s orders.
The “callous” action of the police was aimed at getting accelerated promotions by claiming to have killed two gangsters, the CBI alleged. Rathi was, at that time, considered an “encounter specialist” of Delhi Police.
The CBI also accused Rathi of feeding false information to senior police officers to claim his innocence.