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CRPF man who killed woman kabaddi player dies

Patna: A CRPF trooper who had shot himself after killing a national level woman kabaddi player succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in the Bihar capital, police said on Friday.

Jaswant Singh was being treated at the Patna Medical College and Hospital. "He died Thursday night," a police official said.

Singh had shot Manisha Kumari, the woman kabaddi player, with his AK 47 on Wednesday evening when she refused to give him her phone number and then turned the gun on himself.

Singh was posted at the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp at the Moinul Haq Stadium, where young women players have come to attend practice sessions for the 34th National Games in Jharkhand beginning February 12.

Manisha, a native of Himachal Pradesh in her early 20s, was a member of the Bihar women's kabaddi team. Police say he had been stalking her for the last few days.

Police said Singh, who hails from Rajasthan, belongs to the 131st CRPF battalion.

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LUCKNOW: Twenty-one years after national badminton champion Syed Modi was gunned down in cold blood, a Lucknow sessions court on Saturday sentenced the lone surviving accused Bhagwati Singh to life without establishing any motive for the murder. It also refused to go into alleged links of the murderer with politician Sanjay Singh and Modi's ex-wife Amita Singh, saying no conspiracy was established by the CBI.

Trial judge Shashank Shekhar also fined Bhagwati Singh Rs 50,000 for the crime, which was accompanied by a heady dose of politics and passion that rocked the country in 1988. He noted that even after 21 years, the CBI couldn't find a motive for the murder and pinpoint the conspirators behind the crime. The court pronounced its sentence on the basis of eyewitness accounts without going into the motive part of the crime.

The trial judge awarded Bhagwati life sentence and Rs 40,000 fine as also five years' RI and Rs 10,000 fine for recovery of unauthorized weapon from his possession. He turned down the plea of CBI to award him death penalty, holding that the agency had not been able to establish that Bhagwati acted at the behest of persons with a motive to kill the eight-time national champion in the manner of a professional killer. Modi was India's reigning number one badminton player when he was murdered on July 28, 1988 near Lucknow's KD Singh Babu Stadium.

The subsequent probe had pointed a finger at his wife Amita, then UP minister Sanjay Singh, politician Akhilesh Singh, and Akhilesh's henchmen — Bhagwati Singh alias Pappu, Jitendra Singh alias Tinku, Amar Bahadur Singh and Balai Singh. The UP government had recommended a CBI probe into the case and the agency named the seven in its chargesheet filed on Nov 7, 1998. While Amita, Sanjay and Akhilesh were chargesheeted for conspiracy, the others were named for executing the act.

Amita and Sanjay challenged the chargesheet before the sessions judge who dropped the case against the duo on Sept 17, 1990. Akhilesh also got a clean chit from Allahabad HC in 1996. The discharge of these three high-profile accused was also upheld by the SC. Thus, four accused remained before the trial court. Out of them, while Amar Bahadur Singh was murdered and Balai Singh died during the course of trial, the remaining two accused — Bhagwati and Jitendra — were put on trial by the CBI.

According to prosecution evidence, in the evening of July 28, 1988, as soon as Modi came out of KD Singh Babu stadium, he was shot dead by some unknown assailants. Jitendra was allegedly driving the car and other three were sitting inside, armed with a pistol and revolver. Modi received five shots. Kishan Bahadur, a rickshaw-puller, saw the accused at the crime scene. Prem Chandra Yadav, who was working in a canteen in the stadium, saw the assailants and recognized Bhagwati, as the accused was a frequent visitor to the stadium. It was argued on behalf of Bhagwati that he had no motive to commit the crime. The judge, while convicting Bhagwati on the basis of direct eyewitness evidence, acquitted the other accused Jitendra, giving him the benefit of doubt as none of the witnesses could recognize him.

In the judgment, the judge wrote that since Amita, Sanjay and Akhilesh had already been discharged of charges, there was no question of examining evidence against them.

Syed Modi (1962-1988) : Achievements
• Eight-time national badminton champion; won the Austrian International in 1983 and '84; won singles bronze in '82 Asian Games; got the Arjuna Award in 1981• Hailing from a lower middle-class Muslim family, he was born and brought up in small town Sardarnagar, 5km from Chauri Chaura• He worked with NE Railway in Gorakhpur and later shifted to Lucknow• His original name was Syed Mehdi but while playing a junior tourn-ament in Mumbai his surname was wrongly written as Modi• Ranked No. 1 in the country at the time of his death• Was married to player Amita Kulkarni• Was murdered on July 23, 1988 outside KD Singh Babu stadium in Lucknow. Amita later married Congress leader Sanjay Singh

Guilty after two decades

July 28, 1988: Eight-time national badminton champion Syed Modi gunned down as he came out of KD Singh Babu Stadium, Lucknow

1988: After a nation wide furore and apprehensions of political interference the then Cong govt in UP recommends CBI probe

1989: CBI chargesheets 7, including Amethi-based Congress leader Sanjay Singh and his associate Akhilesh Singh. Modi's wife Amita too named

1990: Sessions court clears Sanjay & Amita for lack of evidence. Later, the two married

1996: Akhilesh Singh also cleared. Another accused Jitendra Singh exonerated later. Two of the other accused, Amar Bahadur Singh was murdered while Balai Singh died during trial

Aug 21, 2009 : Sessions court pronounces the sole remaining accused, alleged contract killer Bhagwati Singh alias Pappu guilty but without establishing the motive for the crime

Aug 22, 2009: Bhagwati Singh given life term
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