A court in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday awarded life sentences to all 11 policemen from Rajasthan, convicted of killing Raja Man Singh of the erstwhile Bharatpur royal family, and his two colleagues over 35 years ago, PTI reported. Singh was killed in Deeg municipality limits in Rajasthan on February 21, 1985.

Those sentenced to life in prison include former Deeg Deputy Superintendent of Police Kan Singh Bhati and local police station in-charge, Sub Inspector Virendra Singh. Kan Singh and Virendra Singh had led the police team that killed the royal. The other policemen who were sentenced to life are Sukh Ram, Jeevan Ram, Jag Mohan, Bhanwar Singh, Hari Singh, Chhatar Singh, Sher Singh, Daya Ram and Ravi Shekhar.

When he was killed, Raja Man Singh was the titular head of Bharatpur, a former princely state in Rajasthan, and an independent MLA from Deeg. His death led to political turmoil in Rajasthan, including the resignation of then-Chief Minister Shiv Charan Mathur. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which had taken over the case, had filed charges against 18 police personnel. While four of them died during the decades-long trial process, three were acquitted.

The incident

Raja Man Singh was a seven-time independent MLA between 1952 and 1984. Singh’s grandson Dushyant Singh said in a statement on Tuesday that in the 1985 Assembly election in Rajasthan, the Congress had fielded retired IAS officer Brijendra Singh against Raja Man Singh in Deeg.

“At the time Congress workers insulted the Bharatpur flag and this made Raja Man Singh very angry,” Dushyant Singh said. “He drove his jeep into a stage set up for the then chief minister’s rally [on February 20, 1985] and damaged a chopper meant to transport the chief minister.” The next day, when Singh and his associates – Thakur Sumer Singh and Thakur Hari Singh – were on their way to the local police station to surrender, a police team led by Bhati opened fire on them, killing them on the spot, he said.

The case was initially heard in a court in Rajasthan but was moved to Mathura based on the Supreme Court’s instruction following a plea by Raja Man Singh’s daughter Krishnendra Kaur Deepa.