Bombay High Court Upholds Conviction: Ex-Policeman Pradeep Sharma Gets Life Term

Pradeep sharma Law Insider

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Published on: March 20, 2024 at 08:55 IST

Bombay High Court has convicted and sentenced former policeman Pradeep Sharma to life imprisonment in connection with the fake encounter of Ramnarayan Gupta, an alleged close associate of gangster Chhota Rajan, in Mumbai back in 2006.

A division bench comprising Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse overturned the sessions court’s 2013 judgment that had acquitted Sharma, terming it “perverse” and “unsustainable.”

“The trial court’s oversight of the overwhelming evidence against Sharma cannot be ignored. The evidence chain convincingly implicates him in the crime,” the bench remarked.

Sharma has been directed to surrender before the concerned sessions court within three weeks.

The high court’s ruling also confirmed the conviction and life sentence imposed by the trial court on 13 individuals, including police officers, while acquitting six others.

The case saw a total of 22 persons, including 13 policemen, charged with murder.

While the sessions court had acquitted Sharma citing lack of evidence in 2013, it had convicted 21 others, sentencing them to life imprisonment. Two of the accused died in custody.

Appeals were filed in the high court by both the convicted individuals challenging their verdict and the prosecution along with the victim’s brother, Ramprasad Gupta, contesting Sharma’s acquittal.

Special public prosecutor Rajiv Chavan argued that the case unveiled a shocking reality where those entrusted with upholding the law were involved in orchestrating a cold-blooded murder.

The prosecution’s case against Sharma positioned him as the mastermind behind the abduction and murder operation. The incident occurred on November 11, 2006, when Gupta alias Lakkhan Bhaiya was apprehended by a police team from Vashi on suspicion of his ties to the Rajan gang. Later that evening, Gupta was purportedly killed in a staged encounter near Nana Nani Park in suburban Versova.

This verdict reaffirms the judiciary’s commitment to upholding justice and ensuring accountability, particularly within law enforcement agencies.

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