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Mumbai ‘encounter’ specialist jailed till Jan 14
Mumbai, Jan 8 (IANS):
Published on 8 Jan. 2010 10:20 PM IST
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A Mumbai court Friday remanded former high-profile police ‘encounter’ specialist Pradeep Sharma and five others in police custody till Jan 14 after they were arrested for a killing in a fake shootout. Sharma and three others, including two constables, were nabbed late Thursday night. Two more people were held Friday. Those arrested include police constables Tanaji Desai and Ratnakar Kamble, and Sharma’s informers Shailendra Pandey, Akhilesh and Hitesh. They were arrested by the city police and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) following a probe ordered by the Bombay High Court into the killing of alleged gangster Ramnarain Gupta. Ramnarain alias Lakhan Gupta was shot dead Nov 11, 2006, by D.N. Nagar police station chief Pradeep Suryawanshi. Ramprasad Gupta, Ramnarain’s elder brother, cried foul and alleged that it was a staged shootout. He later moved the Bombay High Court for an investigation into the killing. Sharma and the five others were presented before an Andheri magistrate court here Friday evening. Pleading for police custody of Sharma and the other arrested, the police prosecutor urged the court that since the matter is over three years old and since even a magistrate had been threatened in the case, the investigators needed them for further probe into the killing. The high court had ordered the inquiry to be conducted by Andheri magistrate R.A. Shaikh, whose report stated that Ramnarain Gupta was killed in a staged shootout. Later, the magistrate brought to the notice of the high court that even she had been threatened by Suryawanshi through some advocates. Upon receiving the report, the high court ordered a Special Investigating Team (SIT) be set up to probe the case in depth. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan Friday said that “officers like (Pradeep) Sharma were a blot on the entire police force”. Reacting to the arrests, Chavan said the government would take necessary steps to ensure the police force is not demoralised by such officers. Following this case and several other allegations of Sharma’s alleged links with the underworld, his acting as the mafia henchman in uniform and his reported over Rs.3 billion unaccounted wealth, he was suspended from service and in 2008 the state government dismissed him from service. Sharma challenged the government action before the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal, which ordered his reinstatement, against which the state government has appealed before the Bombay High Court. Now, the police and SIT are also preparing to nab Suryawanshi for the case. During his long career with the Mumbai Police, the dare-devil Sharma was credited with killing over 100 notorious criminals, mafia dons, and Indian and Pakistani terrorists, including some belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Expressing satisfaction over the developments, Ramprasad Gupta told mediapersons that justice was finally being done in the case after many years of his efforts.

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