Patna HC acquits eight in fake encounter case


Citing lack of evidence, the Patna High Court on Wednesday acquitted eight people, among them two police officials, convicted of murdering three students in a fake skirmish 13 years ago in Patna, an official said.

A bench of the Patna High Court acquitted all the eight convicted people, saying there was insufficient evidence against them in the charge sheet filed by police, a lawyer said.

Those acquitted included two police officials – then station house officer (SHO) of Shastri Nagar police station Shamse Alam and constable Arun Kumar Singh.

Alam was sentenced to death and Singh, along with six others, was sentenced to life imprisonment last year by the fast track court here.

According to the charge sheet, the three students – Vikash Ranjan, Prashant Singh and Himanshu Shekhar – were killed in a fake gun battle at a market near Ashiyana Nagar locality on December 28, 2002, in Patna.

Besides the two police officials, the other six held guilty of attempt to murder were shopkeepers of Sammelan Market who had brutally beaten up the three students following a scuffle between them and a telephone booth operator over the payment of bill.

The shopkeepers then called police and handed over the three students to them, claiming they were thieves and involved in crimes. The two policemen later shot the students dead and in police records dubbed them as robbers.

After a hue and cry by the opposition parties, the case was first handed over to the local police for investigation, then to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) and subsequently to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).