IPS officer RK Sharma’s defence collapsed the moment the court rejected his attempts to implicate slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan and Shivani Bhatnagar’s husband in the murder.
Sharma’s wife Madhu had alleged that the BJP leader had an affair with the journalist and had even spoken to her for 45 minutes on the day of her murder on January 23, 1999.
Mahajan had refuted the allegations and said his relationship with Shivani was purely professional. The BJP leader also said he was prepared to undergo a lie-detector test, as Madhu had demanded.
But after interrogating Sharma for six days, police gave Mahajan a clean chit which has now been endorsed by the court. Additional Sessions Judge Rajendra Kumar Shastri also blasted the defence for indulging in character assassination of the journalist.
No help from case diary
The conviction also meant that the court found nothing in favour of Sharma in the case diary, either. Sharma had sought access to the diary on the plea that it contained information, which could help him defend himself better. The demand was made during the examination of inspector Sukhvinder.
Sharma had sought access to the case diary on the plea that it contained information which could help him defend himself better. The demand for copies of the case diary surfaced during the examination of one of the prosecution witnesses, Inspector Sukhvinder, on March 6, 2006.
The defence believed Shivani’s case diary contained key observations made by the then investigation officer (IO) against her husband and that gaining access to it could help Sharma prepare a foolproof defence.
The defence and the prosecution was engaged in a bitter battle all the way to the Supreme Court. The trial had nearly come to a halt during the period.
Sharma’s lawyers insisted in court that it was the accused’s right to defend himself and have access to the case diary, claiming lack of access to her husband’s statements was hampering his case.
The prosecution argued that supply of the copies was not mandatory and they were only to be shared with the court. They dubbed it as an attempt by Sharma to prolong the trial.