An Azamgarh court on Tuesday handed down life imprisonment to seven persons, including gangster Dhruv Singh alias Kuntu Singh, in the murder case of former MLA and BSP leader Sarvesh Singh ‘Seepu’ and his associate in 2013.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Ramanand also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on each of them. The MLA and his associate Bharat Rai were killed near the former’s house in Azamgarh on July 19, 2013.
On the recommendation of the state government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had taken over the investigation from the local police.
“Last week, the court had held nine persons guilty in the case. On Tuesday, ADJ Ramanand sentenced seven persons, including gangster Dhruv Singh, to life imprisonment and also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on each of them. As two convicts, who are out on bail, did not appear before the court on the date of the pronouncement of judgment, their files were separated from others,” said Special Public Prosecutor Sanjay Dwivedi, adding the court had examined 21 prosecution witnesses. Currently, Dhruv Singh is lodged in Kasganj jail.
According to the prosecution, Sarvesh Singh and Bharat Rai were attacked near the former’s house in Azamgarh’s Jiyanpur area on July 19, 2013. In the ensuing violence, two more persons were killed and scores injured. Sarvesh’s brother Santosh Singh had lodged a case against gangster Kuntu Singh, who at the time of the murder was lodged in Varanasi jail. The prosecution said the investigation found the murder a fallout of a political rivalry.
Sarvesh Singh, who had won the 2007 Assembly election on an SP ticket from Sagri , switched to the BSP ahead of the 2012 Assembly polls and unsuccessfully contested the Azamgarh Sadar seat. Kuntu, who wanted to contest the 2012 elections, had asked Sarvesh not to file his papers, said the prosecution, adding Sarvesh, however, filed his nomination and contested the election.
Initially, the local police investigated the case and chargesheeted 11 people. The investigation was later transferred to the CBI, which filed a chargesheet against two more persons. Dwivedi said, “Of the total 13 accused chargesheeted, one was declared juvenile and his file was sent to the Juvenile Justice Board under the Juvenile Justice Act. Two other accused, Arvind Kashyap and Abhishek, remained absconding, while another accused Girdhari Vishwakarma was killed in a police encounter in Lucknow last year.”
Dwivedi said, “As two accused, Vijay Sachin and Rizwan, did not appear on the date of the pronouncement of judgement, their files were separated. The court handed down the punishment to seven persons.”A non-bailable warrant against Vijay and Rizwan was already issued.