A lot of you may not be able to place this man. He is Romesh Sharma. And he was accused of ordering the murder of his live-in, a woman called Kunjum Budhiraja in 1999. He was found guilty as accused on Friday.
Sharma is the closest Delhi got to have a Mumbai-style don — he had worked with Vardaraja Mudaliar and Dawood Ibrahim. But he turned into a full-time, but lowly, trickster and politician.
At the time of Kunjum’s death, Sharma was in Tihar in connection with one of the 15 cases against him: of criminal intimidation, cheating and grabbing property. He has an earlier conviction for violation of foreign currency rules.
He had ordered the hit from Tihar as she had apparently become a little too demanding for him — a big house in south Delhi and ornaments were perhaps not enough. So the don sent in his hired killers.
Sharma’s men took an unsuspecting Kunjum to his farmhouse in Chhattarpur — called Jai Mata Di — saying there was a puja she must attend. Inside, she was stabbed to death. Sharma was, of course, in jail.
A good alibi, it was suitably bolstered by the cheat with one last act. In a great show of grief, he draped the body in a red sari and put sindoor on her forehead. But no one was fooled. He was shortly charged with Kunjum’s murder.
Sharma had come a long way from selling coat hangers in Connaught Place. His ambition was to make it big and he was in a hurry — landed right in the middle of Mumbai’s gangland. He worked with Mudaliar and then, after the don’s death, joined the then rising star Dawood Ibrahim. He returned to Delhi as Dawood’s man in the Capital paying off politicians, fixing deals.
Soon, he floated a political party and contested elections. But politics is not easy. He lost.
But he refused to return a helicopter he had borrowed from a private firm for campaigning. When the company officials came for the helicopter, Sharma’s goons beat them up. He was arrested and the helicopter was returned to its owners.
Five other people were found guilty in the Kunjum murder case — his nephew Surinder Mishra, associate Tejender Virdi and the three hitmen Hemchand, Ramesh and Santram. All of them will be sentenced on Monday.