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Pradeep Sharma, 104 encounters, fallen from grace

March 31, 2008
A lot of common threads bind Mumbai's famed crime fighters. The prime among them is that most of them are from the class of 1983 of the Maharashtra State Police Service.

Up there -- in terms of body count (104), reputation, fame and controversy -- is Pradeep Sharma.

Sharma rose to fame with the frantic pace at which he did away with Dawood's men in Mumbai as the don struggled from Dubai to remote control operations during the peak of a turf war.

It was under him that surveillance was taken to an art form. Tabs were kept on everyone ranging from gangsters to celebrities. In tandem with the charismatic Daya Nayak, he brought the underworld to its knees.

He also is credited with tracing the Mumbai links of the Kandahar hijackers.

Then, a combination of intra-department rivalries and a high-profile lifestyle meant that whispers started doing rounds about Sharma.

He was even featured in Time magazine and other international publications, which lapped up his one-liners and drew parallels with Dirty Harry for the benefit of their Western readers.

Real trouble for Sharma began only after he was charged with the extrajudicial killing of Khwaja Younis.

He was suspended and though he was reinstated again, his profile -- both on the job and in the eyes of the media and public -- will never be the same again.

Photograph: Jewella C Miranda

Also read: Ab Tak Sau
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