Mumbai : In a major embarrassment to Mumbai Police, a Mumbai Sessions Court awarded life sentence to 21 people, including 13 policemen, for killing Ram Narayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya in a staged shoot out or encounter that took place 2006.
Pradeep Suryavanshi, former senior police inspector, who led the encounter team along with former officers Tanaji Desai and Dilip Palande, were sentenced for life. Suryavanshi, also led his team to pick up the body of the deceased from the satellite town.
The prime accused Police Office Pradeep Sharma, was acquitted of all charges, as the prosecution failed to prove its charges. The prosecution had argued that Sharma had taken contract from a Navi-Mumbai based builder to kill Lakhan Bhaiya.
Earlier this week, the public prosecutor in his arguments had sought death penalty for the policemen and two civilians Akhil Khan and Shailendra Pandey for their key roles in the murder of Lakhan Bhaiya.
After hearing over 100 witnesses, the Court, slapped various charges ranging from murder, destruction of evidence and wrongful confinement against all the accused excluding Sharma.
The encounter of Lakhan Bhaiya, a close aide of Chota Shakeel had created waves when Lakhan Bhaiyas brother Ramprasad Gupta had filed a plea in Bombay High Court alleging that it was a staged shootout and in reality a brutal murder.
A magisterial probe was ordered by the High Court into Guptas killing. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up to probe the case. Suryavanshi, Sharma and 20 others were taken into custody, and it was concluded that it was a cold blooded murder. Sharma, prime accused, and other 21 were nabbed by SIT on charges of murder.
Based on the ballistics findings the prosecution confirmed that bullets direction on Lakhan Bhaiyas body was fired from Sharmas gun and from a point blank range.
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