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Mumbai Ex-Cop Gets Life Sentence in 2006 Fake Encounter Case

Mumbai
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Tuesday saw the conviction and life sentence of former police officer Pradeep Sharma by the Bombay High Court in relation to the fictitious encounter in Mumbai in 2006 involving Ramnarayan Gupta, who was allegedly a close aide of gangster Chhota Rajan.

The 2013 sessions court ruling exonerating Sharma was overturned by a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse, who dubbed it “perverse” and “unsustainable”.

“The trial court disregarded the substantial amount of evidence that was at Sharma’s disposal. His involvement in the case is unequivocally proven by the common chain of evidence, the court ruled.

Sharma was told by the bench to appear in person before the relevant sessions court in three weeks.

The high court also upheld the conviction and life sentence imposed by the trial court on 13 persons, including policemen, and quashed the conviction and life sentence of six other accused and acquitted them.

Twenty-two persons, including 13 policemen, were charged for the murder.

The sessions court in 2013 acquitted Sharma due to lack of evidence and convicted 21 accused and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

Of the 21 accused, two died in custody.

While the accused filed appeals in the high court challenging their conviction, the prosecution and the victim’s brother Ramprasad Gupta filed an appeal against Sharm’s acquittal.

Rajiv Chavan, the special public prosecutor, had contended that in this instance, law enforcement officials were complicit in a cold-blooded murder that was stage-managed.

The prosecution had maintained that Sharma was the primary conspirator and head of the entire kidnapping and killing operation in order to secure Sharma’s conviction.

Along with his friend Anil Bheda, a police team detained Gupta, also known as Lakkhan Bhaiya, from nearby Vashi on November 11, 2006, on suspicion of being a member of the Rajan gang. That same evening, Gupta was killed in a “fake” encounter outside Nana Nani Park in the suburban Versova area.

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