13 cops, 8 others get life imprisonment in fake encounter case

13 cops, 8 others get life imprisonment in fake encounter case

A sessions court in the city on Friday sentenced 21 persons, including 13 cops, to life imprisonment in the 2006 fake encounter case of Ram Narayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya, a close aide of gangster Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje aka Chhota Rajan.

The high-profile former senior police inspector Pradeep Suryavanshi, who had led the “encounter team” to the satellite town to pick up the deceased in 2006, along with former officers-Tanaji Desai and Dilip Palande, were among those sentenced to life imprisonment.

Cop Pradeep Sharma, praised in the media for his encounters, was the only accused among the 22 people charged in the case to walk free thanks to the prosecution’s failure to substantiate its charges against him. The prosecution argued that Sharma’s fire arm had been used for the murder and the cop had also taken a contract to kill Lakhan Bhaiya from a Navi Mumbai-based builder.

The public prosecutor in his arguments earlier in the week had sought death penalty for the rogue cops and the two civilians Shailendra Pandey and Akhil Khan on the grounds that they played key roles in the murder of a suspected gang member. 

The court, after hearing over 100 witnesses,  convicted all the 21 accused – barring Sharma – under various charges ranging from murder, wrongful confinement and destruction of evidence.

Lakhan Bhaiya’s fake encounter created sensation after his brother Ramprasad Gupta moved the Bombay High Court with the claim that the alleged encounter was actually a cold-blooded murder. 

The High Court ordered a magisterial probe and later formed a Special Investigation Team to probe the allegations. Sharma, Suryavanshi along with 20 others were taken into custody. Both the probes concluded that the alleged encounter was nothing short of a “murder”. In 2010, the SIT arrested Sharma, the prime accused, and the other 21 on charges of murder.

The prosecution case hinged on ballistics findings confirming that the direction taken by the bullets on Lakhan Bhaiya's body was fired from Sharma's fire arm and from a point-blank range.

Comments (+)