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Shivani murder: R K Sharma found guilty
March 18, 2008 14:18 IST
Last Updated: March 18, 2008 15:05 IST
Suspended inspector general of police Ravi Kant Sharma and three others were on Tuesday convicted by a
Addition Sessions Judge Rajendra Kumar Shastri held Sharma guilty of hatching the conspiracy to murder Shivani, who had allegedly threaten to expose the suspended IPS officer's alleged involvement in leaking classified documents to her, nine years ago.
Three other co-accused-- Sri Bhagwan Sharma, Pradeep Sharma and Satya [Images] Prakash-- were also held guilty for executing the suspended police official's plot to kill Shivani. Two accused -- Ved Prakash Sharma and Ved Prakash alias Kalu -- were acquitted for want of evidence.
The court would hear the argument on quantum of sentence, which may range from life term to death penalty, on March 20.
On September 27, 2002, R K Sharma surrendered before a court in Ambala after being on the run for more than 45 days.
A British Chevening scholarship recipient and alumni of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, colleagues describe Bhatnagar as persistent and a 'go-getter'.
The murder shocked Delhi and its reverberations almost upset the political applecart of BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, who was accused by Sharma and his wife of 'being close' to the journalist.
It took the police more than three years to make the first arrest in the case -- that of Gurgaon-based restaurant owner Sri Bhagwan. The arrest, on July 23, 2002, would have remained a secret if Bhagwan's family had not filed a habeas corpus.
On August 2, the police picked up another suspect, Pradeep, a computer engineer. A day later Sharma vanished. On August 17, Satya Prakash, the third suspect, was held.
According to the charge sheet, on the fateful day two men posing as acquaintances had entered Bhatnagar's flat with a box of sweets.
The two even had tea, according to the police. With just a camera, a chain and a cellular phone missing, the police ruled out robbery as the motive.
Sri Bhagwan claimed the police planned the murder on Sharma's instructions. The IPS officer decided to eliminate Bhatnagar because she was pressuring him to marry her.
The 45-page charge sheet said that on December 24, 1998, Sharma met co-accused Satya Prakash, Sri Bhagwan, Ved Prakash Sharma and Ved alias Kalu at the Ashoka Hotel in Delhi.
In order to create an alibi, Sharma arranged an official meeting with a senior government official, which never took place, the police said.
Satya Prakash hired Pradeep with the promise to get back his job in the Haryana Urban Development Corporation, besides a remuneration of Rs 300,000, it added.