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Mumbai ex-cop Pradeep Sharma gets life in Chhota Rajan aide's fake encounter

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
Last updated on: March 19, 2024 19:32 IST
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Mumbai's controversial encounter specialist, former policeman Pradeep Sharma, faced a significant legal blow on Tuesday, as the Bombay high court convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment in a 2006 fake encounter of Ramnarayan Gupta, an alleged close aide of gangster Chhota Rajan.

IMAGE: Former policeman Pradeep Sharma. Photograph: ANI Photo

The high court's decision marked a stark contrast to the earlier ruling by the sessions court, which had acquitted Sharma.


A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse deemed the lower court's order as "perverse and unsustainable", highlighting glaring irregularities in the previous judgment.

"The trial court had overlooked the overwhelming evidence available against Sharma. The common chain of evidence unerringly proves his involvement in the case," the court said.

On November 11, 2006, a police team picked up Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakkhan Bhaiya from the Vashi area in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, along with his friend Anil Bheda, and killed him in a staged encounter near Versova in western Mumbai the same evening.

The court said Sharma was convicted on all charges, including criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping and wrongful confinement, and sentenced to life.

The bench directed the former policeman to surrender before the concerned sessions court in three weeks.

Notably, Sharma's legal troubles do not end here, as he is also entangled in a separate case related to the recovery of gelatin sticks outside the residence of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani in 2021 and the killing of businessman Mansukh Hirani.

He got bail from the Supreme Court in this case.

The high court on Tuesday also affirmed the conviction and life sentence of 13 individuals in the case as ordered by the trial court.

This includes 12 policemen and a civilian.

The convicted accused are former policemen Nitin Sartape, Sandeep Sarkar, Tanaji Desai, Pradeep Suryavanshi, Ratnakar Kamble, Vinayak Shinde, Devidas Sapkal, Anant Patade, Dilip Palande, Pandurag Kokam, Ganesh Harpude, Prakash Kadam and Hitesh Solanki, who is a civilian.

The high court overturned the conviction and life sentence of six others, leading to their acquittal.

Manoj Mohan Raj, Sunil Solanki, Mohammad Shaikh, Suresh Shetty, Akhil Khan and Shailendra Pandey, all civilians, have been acquitted.

The high court said it has accepted the prosecution's case of fake encounter, murder, abduction and wrongful confinement of the deceased.

Twenty-two individuals, comprising 13 policemen, were initially charged in the case.

Following a trial, the sessions court in 2013 found 21 of the accused guilty, sentencing them to life imprisonment.

The trial court acquitted Sharma due to insufficient evidence, while two of the convicted individuals died while in custody.

The convicted parties lodged appeals in the high court against their convictions, while the prosecution and the deceased victim's brother, Ramprasad Gupta, appealed against Sharma's acquittal.

During the proceedings, special public prosecutor Rajiv Chavan contended that the police officers, who were supposed to uphold the law, were themselves part of a premeditated and ruthless murder.

The prosecution sought Sharma's conviction on the grounds that he was the primary instigator and leader behind the entire abduction and murder operation.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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