Patna, June 5: Eight persons, including former Shashtri Nagar police station house officer Shamse Alam and suspended constable Arun Kumar, were convicted today for killing three youths in a fake encounter at Sammelan Market in Ashiana Nagar in December 2002.
A fast-track court headed by additional district and sessions judge (I) Ravishankar Sinha charged Alam and Arun with murder. The six others —Kamlesh Kumar Gautam, Rajiv Kumar Ranjan, Sony Rajak, Kumud Kumar, Rakesh Kumar Mishra and Anil Kumar — have been charged with attempt to murder. Two policemen attached to Digha police station — Abhay Kumar and Ramnath Singh were absolved of the charge. Despite reaching the spot first, they passed on the information about the confinement of the youths to their counterparts at Shastri Nagar police station because the area was not within their jurisdiction.
The quantum of the punishment of the two suspended cops and the six traders would be pronounced on June 12.
The three youths — Vikas Ranjan, Prashant and Himanshu Yadav — were gunned down around 4pm on December 28, 2002. The police had initially claimed that the trio were members of the notorious Ashok Natwa gang and had gone to the market for committing some crime.
A source said Vikas had a tiff with a telephone booth owner, Kamlesh Kumar Gautam, over payment against calls on the fateful day. Vikas left the place only to return with Prashant and Himanshu to teach Kamlesh a lesson. However, Kamlesh and the other traders confined the trio to the market and thrashed them. Later, the police killed them.
During investigation, it came to the fore that Vikas was a student of electronics and a diploma holder in hardware engineering. His friends Prashant and Himanshu were students of RPS College here.
The incident took a political twist with the opposition parties, including the BJP, giving a bandh call. The frenzied mob ruled the roost almost for three consecutive days, forcing the police to remain mute spectators. Later, the CBI took over the case.