A Delhi court has held gangster Romesh Sharma guilty of cheating and other penal offences linked to the grabbing of a helicopter by him in 1996 and keeping it at his farmhouse in New Delhi.
Metropolitan Magistrate Sandeep Jain has convicted Sharma of offences of cheating, extortion, dishonestly receiving stolen property, kidnapping, criminal intimidation and conspiracy.
The court has also convicted his accomplices Avtar Singh Ahluwalia, M D Bhojwani, Naveen Budhiraja, Manoj, Avdesh and Indermani of dacoity and hatching criminal conspiracy for it.
Another accused Harish Mishra was convicted of cheating and criminal conspiracy for the same while Laxman Singh is convicted of kidnapping and criminal intimidation.
The convicts are yet to be sentenced. The court will hear the prosecution and defence arguments on quantum of sentence to the convicts on July 23, 2012.
Besides the chopper-grabbing case, Sharma is also facing trial in nearly a dozen criminal cases. The case against Sharma had been registered in 1998 on complaint of one H Suresh Rao, the owner of a Bell-47 helicopter.
In its charge sheet, filed later, the Central Bureau of Investigation had said that Sharma came in contact with Rao in 1996 and expressed his desire to hire his chopper for campaigning in an election.
He had told Rao that he could not show the hiring of the helicopter due to the restrictions imposed by the Election Commission and, therefore, the documents showing sale of the helicopter may be prepared, which would be destroyed after the elections.
Believing Sharma's request to be bonafide, Rao executed an MOU which was predated to February 24, 1996.
On Sharma's request, the helicopter was dispatched to Phoolpur where it was used for his electioneering work. He later refused to return it to Rao.
When the helicopter was to be sent back to Mumbai, it was forcibly grabbed by Sharma's henchmen, who took it to Delhi. The chopper was later seized by the Delhi police, which had initially registered the case, whch was later transferred to the CBI.