Thursday, October 20, 2011

Indian man impersonated his brother in law to serve his life sentence for murder


Kiran Singh, a small farmer from Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, had served 18 months of his brother-in-law Raj Kumar's jail term when a cellmate betrayed them to the prison authorities.
Singh confessed that Kumar, his wife's brother, had persuaded him to take his place because he needed to look after his five unmarried sisters. He had promised he would appeal to country's Supreme Court and he would be released within weeks.
Raj Kumar, an electrical contractor, was convicted with his friend Faisal for the 1993 murder of a labourer in a gunfight with a rival firm. They were released on bail pending an appeal but were ordered to surrender last year after the appeal was finally dismissed. But instead of handing himself in, Kumar persuaded Kiran Singh to go in his place and to have Kumar's name tattooed on his arm to convince the police.
Jail officials remain baffled over why Singh agreed to serve a sentence for a crime he did not commit. In India a life sentence can mean a convict's 'whole life'. They were not able to establish whether Kumar had paid Singh to serve his sentence or offered to support his family.
Singh's family had been unaware of the deal and had thought he had simply disappeared after leaving to look for work.
Their arrangement was betrayed by Faisal, Kumar's accomplice in the murder, after he and Singh fell out. Faisal informed the prison authorities that the man sharing his cell was not Kumar.
"They were brought to the jail in March 2010 and were quite close to each other. However, their relationship ended round April this year and the co-accused Faisal complained to us that his jail mate is not Raj Kumar but Kiran Singh," Mr S M Singh, deputy jailer at Dehradun Jail told The Daily Telegraph.
"We moved an application before the court, which summoned the fake Raj Kumar. Before the court, he accepted that he impersonated his brother-in-law and identified himself as Kiran Singh," he said.
Raj Kumar has since been arrested, while Kiran Singh has now been charged with fraud. If convicted he could receive his very own life sentence.

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