Thursday, August 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

High drama over property
Phoolan’s husband, sister trade charges
Tribune News Service

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav with Umed Singh.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav with Umed Singh, husband of the late bandit queen-turned-politician Phoolan Devi before a Press conference addressed by Umed Singh at her residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, August 1
Differences on the claim to the property of slain Phoolan Devi, came to the fore here today with her husband Umed Singh announcing the formation of a trust and her sister refusing to hand over the property to him.

Amidst high drama here today Umed Singh said “to resolve the property dispute that has been widely reported in the media the family has decided to form a trust that will work for the upliftment of the suppressed from all the property - movable and immovable”.

“There is no rift in the family over the property issue” Singh said. Ahead of the Press conference, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav visited Phoolan Devi’s family to “express solidarity with the bereaved”.

However, he was immediately challenged by Phoolan Devi’s sister Munni Devi who alleged that Umed Singh knew the alleged conspirators (Sher Singh Rana and Uma Kashyap) very well and had married her sister with “an eye” on the property.

“He has another wife and two daughters in Timarpur in West Delhi. He married my sister for her property,” Munni alleged.

Umed Singh and Munni traded charges throughout the Press conference. While addressing the media Munni Devi indicated that she suspected Umed Singh’s hand in “the murder of her sister” and said “he left the house just an hour before the incident. He knew Uma Kashyap and Pankaj very well. They used to come and meet him often.” On the other hand Umed Singh said Kamini Jaiswal was not his wife’s counsel. S.P Maheshwari was “my wife’s counsel. Kamini was her counsel two years back. Kamini is doing this just to come in the limelight,” he said.

He said he made the trust for upliftment of the suppressed. The trust will be registered soon. The property of Phoolan Devi will be evaluated after the 13th day ceremony of Phoolan.

Umed further said that he was not satisfied with the probe being done by the Delhi Police. The motive of the murder would be something else, not Behmai massacre. He demanded a CBI inquiry into the murder of Phoolan Devi.

Claiming that the murder was a big political controversy Umed Singh said he feared for his life. “I am carrying on the work of my wife. Those who killed her can kill me also,” he said.Back


Was Pankaj in jail on day of killing?
Tribune News Service.

New Delhi, August 1
The investigation into the daylight slaying of the Samajwadi Party MP and former bandit queen, Mrs Phoolan Devi, took a curious turn today with the Delhi Police rushing a team to Hardwar to verify a report that the main suspect, Pankaj alias Sher Singh Rana, was imprisoned in the district jail there on July 25, the day of the incident.

The team of crime branch detectives was rushed to the holy city after the Uttaranchal Director- General of Police, Mr A.K. Sharan, spoke to the Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr. Ajai Raj Sharma, and informed him about the new development. The Uttaranchal Police has already ordered an inquiry into it.

According to the information available here, the Hardwar jail records showed that one Sher Singh Rana was interned there from July 18 to July 26 after the cancellation of his bail in a case of illicit liquor dating back to 1996.

Sources said subsequently he was enlarged on bail. However, one of the sureties, identified as Surendera Singh Rana, made a plea before a court there that he wanted to withdraw the surety. The plea was accepted by the court and Sher Singh Rana alias Pankaj returned to jail.

The police said the crime branch team would ascertain whether it was Pankaj or some one else in the jail in his place. It could also be a ploy by the suspect, who has confessed to the sensational killing, to confuse the police and provide an alibi for himself.

Interestingly, Ravinder, the other suspect, is also reported to have been arrested in Hardwar in an illicit liquor case on July 3 and released on July 26. How he happened to be in the Capital on July 25 is one of the mysteries that the police is trying to unravel.

Meanwhile, the police continued to interrogate the four suspects separately to unravel the conspiracy behind the murder which is gradually taking a political hue. The three alleged accomplices of Pankaj, alias Sher Singh, Rana, Ravinder, Shekhar and Rajbir who were arrested from Saharanpur, were being subjected to extensive interrogation and their statements tallied with that of the main suspect and some eyewitnesses.

The police were also planning to register a case against Keshav Chand Chauhan, a Samajwadi Party worker, for tampering with evidence. Chauhan had reportedly picked up the two country-made guns allegedly used in the murder from near the gate of the Ashoka Road residence and hidden them in the garage. They were discovered four days after the incident.Back

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