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Shivani Bhatnagar case verdict today

The 1999 murder case involves former IPS officer RK Sharma and five others, reports Naziya Alvi.
Hindustan Times | By Naziya Alvi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 18, 2008 11:03 AM IST

A city court will pronounce its verdict on Tuesday in the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case involving former IPS officer RK Sharma and five others.

A senior correspondent with The Indian Express, Shivani was killed at her East Delhi apartment on January 23, 1999, allegedly at the behest of the IPS officer. According to the police, Sharma conspired to have Shivani killed after she threatened to expose him. The two allegedly had a relationship and during his stint as an officer on special duty (OSD) in the Prime Minister’s Office in 1997, the IPS officer had “leaked” some secret documents to Shivani.

The court of Additional Sessions Judge Rajinder Kumar Shastri, who reserved the verdict in the case on March 5 after completion of final arguments by the prosecution and the defence, will also decide the fate of Pradeep Sharma, Satya Prakash, Ved Prakash, Ved alias Kallu and Sri Bhagwan — the other five accused — who allegedly executed the crime.

Police alleged that on the fateful day, Pradeep, Satya, Ved Prakash and Kallu went to Shivani’s residence. While the three waited downstairs, Pradeep Sharma went to her flat with a box of sweets posing as an acquaintance. He even had tea with her. Pradeep then allegedly strangulated her with an electric wire.

With just a camera, a chain and a cellular phone missing, police ruled out robbery as the motive. Later, they found that Sri Bhagwan, son of a retired Haryana Police officer, had planned the murder at Sharma’s behest.

The much-publicised case saw its first arrest three years after the incident, on July 23, 2002, when Sri Bhagwan, a Gurgaon-based restaurant owner, was held. A few days later, police picked up another suspect, Pradeep, a computer engineer. Soon after their arrest, Sharma, a prime accused in the case, went absconding. Finally, on September 27, 2002, he surrendered before an Ambala court after being on the run for over 45 days.

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