Bade cases mein aisa hi hota hai (that’s what happens in big cases), a tense but composed RK Sharma told her weeping sister moments after he was convicted for murdering journalist Shivani Bhatnagar.
"Isme pareshan hone wali kya baat hai, dekhte hain kya kar sakte hain (Why do you worry, let’s see what best we can do now),” he said, while consoling his cousin, who hugged Sharma while he was being taken out of the courtroom.
Dressed in a pink stripe T-shirt, brown trousers and matching leather sandals, Sharma tried his best to keep a calm face right from the time he stepped inside Court No-19. But the heavy sighs he let out after every few minutes betrayed his best efforts.
Sharma entered the courtroom first, followed by the other accused. He patted a few acquaintances and also exchanged pleasantries with a battery of journalists and lawyers present in the room.
Sharma stood upfront in the accused box. The plain specks he wore exposed a grim set of eyes that were fixed on the magistrate, as the judgment was pronounced, almost in a single breath. Two of Sharma’s co-accused were acquitted, the rest convicted.
The judge had announced the verdict nine long years after the murder was committed. But Sharma’s (by now) shocked eyes were still set on the magistrate. He was perhaps expecting something more. Nothing more was said though.
As the two acquitted men prepared to embrace their kin, Sharma quickly turned towards his lawyer. The judgment had perhaps sunk in by now. An animated conversation ensued between the two for about a minute, even as the other convicted left the accused box. “Let us get a copy of the judgment first. We will act later,” Sharma’s lawyer could be heard telling him.
Sharma maintained his composure even after the verdict. He still talked to a few journalists. He also flashed a few nervous smiles at his acquaintances. The bonhomie with the lawyers was alive too.
Sharma smiled one last time before being taken out of the court. A journalist asked him how it felt, now that the judgment had been pronounced. Sharma looked at him only to turn away, grinning in disbelief.