Case diary disappears, verdict postponed in Phoolan Devi case

The judge pulled up the court official for the absence of the case diary at the time of delivering the verdict. Photo: iStock

A court here is expected to pronounce verdict on January 18 on the massacre of 20 people in Behmai village, allegedly by bandit Phoolan Devi nearly four decades ago.

The special court for hearing dacoity-related cases was expected to deliver the verdict in the 1981 Behmai massacre case on Monday. But it allowed the defence counsel to submit its written arguments by January 16, district government counsel Raju Porwal said.

The court has now listed the case for January 18, when the judgment is expected on the role of the four surviving accused — Bhikha, Posha, Vishwanath and Ram Singh. The defence counsel Girish Narain Dubey appeared before the court, seeking more time to submit written arguments and was granted 10 more days, the government counsel said.

Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi, who later turned to politics, and her gang members were accused of killing 20 people belonging to the Thakur community at Behmai village in Kanpur Dehat on February 14, 1981.

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Phoolan Devi had stormed into Behmai in what was described as an attack to avenge her alleged rape there by two other bandits, both Thakurs. She surrendered to police in 1983 and went on to become an MP from Mirzapur. She was shot dead outside her Delhi home on July 25, 2001.

Initially, 35 people, including Phoolan Devi, were named as accused in the case. Eight of them were reportedly killed by police in separate encounters. Three others were reportedly absconding.

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