July 26, 2001,
Phoolan Devi shot dead in Delhi
New Delhi, July 25
The suspects, said to be three in number and with muffled faces, were apparently lying in ambush outside the residence in a parked green Maruti car (CIM 907). All of them escaped after spraying bullets at the former ‘bandit queen’ and her personal security officer (PSO). The car was reportedly found abandoned on the nearby Pandit Pant Marg in the heavily guarded New Delhi area. From there, the police believes, the trio might have taken an autorickshaw.
The police said the gunman returned the fire but it could not be ascertained if any of the suspects was injured. The injured Samajwadi MP from Mirzapur in UP and her gunman were rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where she was declared dead. She had sustained five bullet wounds in the head, chest and shoulder. The condition of the gunman was described as serious.
According to the police, Uma Kashyap and Kesar Chauhan, who work at Phoolan Devi’s residence and brought her to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital said they were inside the house when they heard the sound of gun shots.
Later in the evening Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Suresh Roy said the assailants after abandoning the Maruti car, got into a waiting auto- rickshaw (DL1R-2135) and fled. A red alert had been sounded and all the borders of the Capital sealed to nab the culprits. New Delhi district police and Crime Branch are jointly investigating the case.
He hinted at a well-conceived plan to eliminate the 38-year-old MP from Mirzapur in UP. The police suspects ‘revenge killing’ as the motive.
Commissioner of Delhi Police Ajai Raj Sharma summoned an emergency meeting of top police officials to review the law and order situation in the Capital following the killing. He is understood to have instructed the force to be on high alert and arrest the culprits at the earliest.
Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and the Rajasthan police have been informed about the incident as there is a possibility of the killers escaping into these areas.
Senior Samajwadi Party leaders and other politicians, including the former Prime Minister, Mr Chandra Shekhar, Samajwadi Party President, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Minister for Health, Mr C.P. Thakur, rushed to the hospital as soon as the news reached them in Parliament. Parliament was adjourned for the day as a mark of respect for the sitting MP. Hundreds of party workers and well-wishers also thronged the residence, the entrance of which still bore the tell-tale signs of the shooting.
Senior police officers also reached the spot and inspected the area. Border check posts have been alerted and massive manhunt launched in the city. The police said efforts were on to ascertain the identities of the suspect from the description provided by some crucial eyewitnesses. The shooting which took place in the well protected New Delhi area housing most of the VIPs has once again exposed the chinks in the city’s security armour.
According to the police, the incident occurred around 1 p.m. when Ms Phoolan Devi returned to her residence for lunch after attending the morning session of Parliament. While the gunman was opening the gate of her residence, the suspects walked up to her and sprayed her and the gunman with bullets from automatic weapons. The gunman returned the fire from his service revolver but the suspects returned to the car and sped away.
The sound of gun shots had obviously alerted the neighbours and security personnel deployed there. The police was informed and the victims rushed to the hospital.
Meanwhile, the police said the abandoned car was being dusted for finger prints and a team of experts from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) were examining it. Two empties recovered from the spot were also being referred to them for a ballistic report.
LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday refuted the Samajwadi Party’s charge that lapses in security led to the murder of Ms Phoolan Devi and slammed the party for indulging in “politics over the dead body’’.
New Delhi, July 25
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