Real culprit has gone scot-free, we’ll move higher court, says lawyer
Twenty-one persons, including 13 Mumbai policemen, were convicted by a sessions court on Friday in the 2006 case of fake encounter killing of Ram Narayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya, an alleged aide of gangster Chhota Rajan. However, judge V.D. Jadhwar acquitted encounter specialist and dismissed senior inspector Pradeep Sharma of all charges. The court is likely to announce the sentence on Monday.
According to the prosecution, a police team picked up Lakhan Bhaiya from Vashi at Navi Mumbai on November 11, 2006.
He was killed the same day in an encounter near Varsova in suburban Mumbai.
After Lakhan Bhaiya’s brother and lawyer Ramprasad Gupta approached different authorities, the Bombay High Court ordered a magisterial enquiry in 2008.
The enquiry report, submitted in August 2009, said Lakhan Bhaiya was killed in cold blood from point-blank range.
The High Court then appointed a Special Investigation Team, which arrested 22 people, including Mr. Sharma and another senior inspector Pradeep Suryavanshi. All the accused have been lodged in Thane Central jail since 2010.
Of the 100 witnesses examined, eight turned hostile. The only eyewitness, Anil Bheda, who had been picked up along with Lakhan Bhaiya, went missing from March 2011 and his decomposed body was later found in the Manor area of Thane district.
Bheda’s death hampered the prosecution’s case and it had to depend on his wife’s deposition.
Mr. Gupta said, “The real culprit is scot-free and we will be moving the higher court to seek justice.”
Mr. Sharma, involved in around 100 encounters, was removed from active duty in 2008 following allegations that he had links with underworld gangs.