Three years after RK Sharma got Shivani Bhatnagar killed by a group of hired henchmen, a series of checks the Delhi Police ran on his telephone records largely helped them nab the accused. In fact it was phone call details and some documentary evidence that led to the conviction of Sharma and three others in the absence of any eyewitness.
The court, in a detailed judgment of over 100 pages, has upheld the prosecution story that Sharma, then an Officer on Special Duty in the PMO, received as many as 50 calls on his official mobile number from Shivani’s residence phone between December 1997 and February 1998. During December 15, 1997 and January 26, 1998, Sharma made 13 calls to Shivani from his mobile.
On July 30, 2002, police made their first arrest that of Sri Bhagwan. Scrutiny of his call revealed that soon after eliminating Shivani, convicts Satya Prakash and Pradeep Sharma stopped at an STD booth and informed Sri Bhagwan on his mobile that Shivani had been liquidated. Thereafter, Sri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash called Sharma at his Mumbai residence from an STD booth in Gurgaon. A day after the crime, Satya Prakash and Sri Bhagwan reached Mumbai and stayed at Hotel Milan, Santa Cruz, Mumbai where they took Rs three lakh from RK Sharma.
How they planned and executed the murder
The conspiracy to murder Shivani was hatched sometime between December 1998 and January 1999 at Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune and some other places. Police alleged on January 13, 1998, Sharma met Satya Prakash, Sri Bhagwan, Ved Prakash Sharma and Ved alias Kalu at Ashoka Hotel in Delhi.
Sharma also provided Satya Prakash a photograph of Shivani, which later was passed on to the killer. Satya Prakash hired Pradeep, who was his nephew, with the promise to get back his job in Haryana Urban Development Corporation (HUDA) besides a remuneration of Rs three lakh.
The same day Sharma called Shivani to the hotel, along with her child, so as to permit the other accused to identify her. Later they went to her Navkunj Apartments flat in East Delhi to make her location known to the killers.
The conspiracy to eliminate Shivani was initially hatched on January 21, 1999. Annoyed, Sharma asked them to eliminate Shivani positively by 23rd. On the fateful day, Pradeep, armed with a piece of yellow cloloured electric wire, entered Shivani’s flat after recording his entry at the gate. As Shivani went inside serving tea to him, Pradeep followed her and strangled her to death.