Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Background

State vs. Jasbir Singh alias Billa and Kuljeet Singh alias Ranga
17 (1980) DLT 404, ILR 1979 Delhi 571

This case was one of the earliest and most shocking cases of rape and double murder in India, one that caused widespread outrage and lead to two executions. Opinions 24x7, using the records of the case, recreates the story...

The Family
Captain Madan Mohan Chopra, an officer of the Indian Navy stationed at Naval HQ Delhi, lived in Dhaula Kuan in 1978 with his family: his wife, college-doing daughter Geeta and son, Sanjay, who was a students of Class 10. At the time of the crime, Geeta was 16 years old and Sanjay, 14. Being children from a naval background, the children enjoyed working within the community. Geeta was a gifted orator and was thus scheduled to compere a program on All India Radio, Parliament Street, at 8:00 PM on August 26, 1978. Her brother was to participate in the same show and both had to arrive at AIR by 7:00 PM.

Thus, the siblings left home at 6:15 PM and hoped to take a taxi to AIR, while their father was to bring them back at 9:00 PM after the show. At 8:00 PM, Capt. Chopra and his wife sat down to hear his children speak - but they heard someone else speak. The show had been cancelled for no apparent reason. Surprised, they assumed they were catching the wrong station. At 8:45 PM, Capt. Chopra arrived to pick up his children but could not find them. After hectic searching proved unfruitful, he approached the Police Control Room at 10:15 PM.

The Hospital
While Capt. Chopra was searching for his children, at 10:15 PM, an injured man by the name of Vinod came to the Casualty Ward of Willingdon Hospital by one, Harbhajan Singh. Vinod was found to have a major laceration on his forehead for which surgery was recommended. Being a medico-legal case, Sub-Inspector Ram Chander came to the hospital to investigate the matter. Vinod told him that he was robbed of his wristwatch at Bangla Saheb Marg and the ensuing brawl had caused the injury.

As Vinod insisted on leaving against medical advice, he was asked by the SI to take him to the scene of the crime, where no sign of any ruckus could be found, His suspicion aroused, he asked the two to come to the Mandir Marg police station for questioning. Just then, Vinod complained of severe pain in his head and asked to be allowed to meet his mother. The SI took down their address and allowed them to go on the promise that they would return.

The duo failed to return. The address, 4, Pushpa Building, Fatehpuri, was found to be a fake.

The Bodies
Dhani Ram, grazing his cattle on the field at 6:00 PM on August 28, 1978, discovered the dead bodies on a boy and a girl in the middle of the fields. The bodies were already heavily decomposed. He reported the matter to the police, SI Hari Chand began the investigation. Suspecting the worst, he asked Capt. Chopra to come with his wife to see if the bodies were those of their children.

The Chopras identified the bodies. It was a case of murder.

Next: The Missing Links

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