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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 April 2006, 08:07 GMT 09:07 UK
Bandit Queen suspect is arrested
Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi and supporters
Phoolan Devi was one of India's most famous outlaws
Police in India have arrested the prime suspect in the murder of bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi, two years after he escaped from jail.

Sher Singh Rana was arrested in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta on Monday evening and brought to Delhi, the police said.

Rana, arrested after Devi was killed in 2001, went missing from Delhi's high security Tihar prison in February 2004.

Men posing as policemen helped him in the daring escape.

Rana's absence was noticed at morning roll call at the Delhi prison. A bogus police escort had turned up and spirited him away.

Business plans

Delhi police commissioner KK Paul told reporters that Rana was on the run in India, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan for the past two years.

He was living in Calcutta for the last few days and had been working on starting a coal business, Mr Paul said.

Phoolan Devi became one of India's best-known political figures after giving up years of crime.

She was shot dead at the age of 38 in front of her official residence in Delhi in July 2001.

Police say Sher Singh Rana had confessed to the murder. They had offered a reward of 50,000 rupees (about $1,100) for information leading to his arrest.

He is one of 11 people charged in connection with the murder.


Phoolan Devi was part of India's bandit folklore.

A member of the lower castes, she rose to notoriety in 1981 when she had 22 upper caste men massacred on Valentine's Day to avenge her gang rape.

She surrendered to the authorities in 1983 and served a prison sentence until February 1994.

Two years later she became a member of the Indian lower house of parliament. She lost her seat in 1998, but made a comeback the following year.

Her life was immortalised in the film Bandit Queen by Indian director Shekhar Kapur.

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