A city court on Friday sentenced 21 accused, including 13 police officials, to life imprisonment for gunning down an alleged gangster, Lakhan Bhaiya, at the Nana Nani Park at Versova in Mumbai on November 11, 2006.
Of the 22 accused, only encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma was acquitted in the case. However, while acquitting Sharma, whom the prosecution had named as the key conspirator, sessions judge VD Jadhvar held that the encounter was fake. The judge convicted 13 police officials, including inspector Pradeep Suryavanshi, and eight others under various charges.
The prosecution had argued that the others were following Sharma’s orders when they shot dead Lakhan Bhaiyya or Ramnarayan Gupta, a suspected aide of gangster Chhota Rajan.
Lakhan’s brother, Ram Prasad, plans to appeal against Sharma’s acquittal in a higher court. Ram Prasad, an advocate himself, had moved a petition in the Bombay high court in 2006 alleging that his brother was murdered by the police.
The high court ordered a magisterial inquiry in February 2008, which found that Lakhan Bhaiyya was killed in cold blood. Based on the report, the high court formed a special investigation team (SIT) and the trial began in July 2011.