NATIONAL

Last of Shivani murder accused held

NEW DELHI OCT. 3. The last of the accused in the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, Ved Sharma, was arrested in Vasant Kunj here today by the Crime Branch of the Delhi police. He carried a reward of Rs. 20,000 on his head.

Ved Sharma was travelling in a car along with a friend when police intercepted the vehicle near Shiv Murti on National Highway-8 around 11.30 a.m. He was later produced in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate, J.P. Narain, and remanded to police custody till October 8.

The Special Public Prosecutor, S.K. Saxena, submitted before the court that Ved Sharma alias Kallu was party to the conspiracy hatched by the senior Haryana cadre IPS officer, Ravi Kant Sharma, now in police custody.

In the application seeking a 14-day remand for Ved Sharma, Mr. Saxena said police needed to recover a camera missing from Shivani's Navkunj Apartments flat after her body was discovered on January 23, 1999. They also wanted to interrogate Ved Sharma — reported to be a nephew of another accused, Sri Bhagwan Sharma — to re-construct the sequence of events leading to the journalist's murder and to cross-check statements made by the other accused in the case. The application made no mention of Ved Sharma being the second killer along with Pradeep Sharma, who allegedly gained entry into Shivani's flat and murdered her. The "second killer theory" was put forth by Sri Bhagwan who told police that two persons had entered the flat. However, Pradeep Sharma had claimed that he was the sole killer. Though Sri Bhagwan had earlier disclosed that the camera was with Satya Prakash, another co-accused, police are now claiming that it is with Ved Sharma.

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