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Charges to be framed against R K Sharma, five others

February 27, 2003 17:06 IST

A Delhi court on Thursday ordered framing of charges against senior Indian Police Service officer and five other accused in the journalist Shivani Bhatnagar murder case.

While ordering framing of common charges against the accused Ravi Kant Sharma, Sri Bhagwan, Satya Prakash, Pradeep, Ved Sharma and Ved alias Kalu under sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (destruction of evidence), 401 (association with gang of thieves) and 403 (misappropriation of property), Additional Sessions Judge J M Malik also ordered framing of alternative charges against four of the accused.

The court fixed March 3 for formal framing of charges when it would ask the accused whether they would like to plead guilty or prefer trial.

The court ordered framing of alternative charges under various sections against accused Pradeep, Satya Prakash, Ved Sharma and Ved alias Kalu.

While Pradeep and Satya Prakash have been alternatively charged under sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention), accused Ved Sharma and Kalu have been charged under sections 392 (robbery), 397 (robbery coupled with attempt to cause death) and 34 (common intention).

The court also ordered framing of alternative charges under sections 401 (association with gang of thieves) and 419 (cheating by impersonation) against Pradeep, under section 201 (destroying evidence) against Satya Prakash, under section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) against Kalu and under section 404 (misappropriation of property possessed by deceased person at the time of his/her death) against Ved Sharma.

At the conclusion of the trial, if the common charges fail against accused Pradeep, Satya Prakash, Ved Sharma and Kalu, they could still be convicted under the alternative charges framed against them.

Shivani Bhatnagar, a journalist working with the Indian Express, was murdered in her east Delhi house on January 23, 1999 allegedly at the behest of accused R K Sharma after she threatened to expose him by making public classified documents, which he had "leaked" to her from the Prime Minister's Office where he was posted.

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