The Delhi high court, which acquitted suspended IPS officer RK Sharma and three others in the Shivani murder case, virtually threw out evidence placed by the prosecution in the form of call records.
Its significant as the trial court while sentencing them to life sentence on March 24, 2008, had relied on it heavily in the absence of eyewitnesses to the murder. They were “proof” of calls between all the accused immediately after the murder and those between Sharma and Shivani.
Justices BD Ahmed and Manmohan Singh termed most of the call records as in the “realm of an allegation” and said they “do not trascend the threshold of proof”.
“The key document (call record of Shri Bhagwan) kept before us is riddled with so many problems that it cannot be relied upon,” the court said. Bhagwan was the son of a former Haryana police officer who had worked under RK Sharma. He was also charged with murder and conspiracy. Police, extensively relying on the phone records had contended that the murder conspiracy had been hatched between December 1998 and May 1999, in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune.
The lower court had upheld the prosecution story that Sharma received as many as 50 calls on his official mobile number from Shivani’s residence phone between December 1997 and February 1998.
It found evidence that during December 15, 1997, and January 26, 1998, Sharma made 13 calls to Shivani from his mobile. On July 30, 2002, the police made its first arrest — that of Sri Bhagwan — with the help of call records. It was on this “scrutiny of calls” that “revealed that soon after eliminating Shivani, Satya Prakash and Pradeep Sharma stopped at an STD booth and informed Sri Bhagwan on his mobile that Shivani had been liquidated.
Thereafter, Bhagwan and Prakash called Sharma at his Mumbai residence from an STD booth in Gurgaon.