Lakhan Bhaiya encounter case: 21, including 13 cops, get life imprisonment
The Sessions Court on Friday sentenced all 21 men, including 13 policemen convicted in the fake encounter of alleged criminal Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya to life in prison.
The prosecution told the court later that it would appeal against the acquittal of the prime accused, Pradeep Sharma in the Bombay High Court.
The court has ordered the release of Sharma on a bail bond while giving the prosecution led by Special PP Vidya Kasle time to file an appeal. "I intend to pray for enhancement (from life to death) and against Sharma's acquittal," she said.
The family members of some accused caused a ruckus in court, with accused Sandeep Sardar's wife telling Judge VD Jadhavar, "If I die,only you are responsible. We thought of you as a god and you knew my husband was innocent, yet you convicted him. Yours is a bad decision." Jadhavar told her he was doing his duty.
Former senior PI Pradeep Suryavanshi’s wife said, "You have let the man who gave the orders off and convicted the others."
During sentencing, Tanaji Desai, a former constable made a speech in the witness box: "All I want to say is the morale of the police force will go. We are sacrificing our lives. In our time we saw lots of cops, caught lots of criminals.... I won't cry today. We did our jobs."
On November 11, 2006, a police team picked up Ram Narayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya, from neighbouring Vashi on the suspicion that he was a member of Rajan gang, along with his friend Anil Bheda, and killed Gupta in a "fake" encounter near Nana Nani Park in suburban Versova in Western Mumbai on the same evening.
According to prosecution, Bheda was initially detained at D N Nagar police station in Versova and was later shifted to Kolhapur. He was subsequently brought back to Mumbai and was detained for about a month.
Soon thereafter, Ram Narayan's brother, advocate Ramprasad Gupta, moved the Bombay High Court, alleging police had in fact murdered his brother.
In February 2008, the High Court ordered a magisterial inquiry which concluded that it was a "cold-blooded" murder.