Bombay High Court Sentences Ex-Encounter Specialist to Life for 2006 Fake Encounter

Bombay High Court -Pradeep Sharma

Mumbai: In a landmark judgment, the Bombay High Court has sentenced Pradeep Sharma, a former police officer known for his encounter operations, to life imprisonment for his involvement in the fake encounter of Ramnarayan Gupta, also known as Lakhan Bhaiya. The court overturned Sharma’s previous acquittal by the trial court, highlighting the gravity of the misuse of power in executing a custodial death disguised as an encounter.

The case dates back to November 11, 2006, when Gupta, an associate of the notorious gangster Chhota Rajan, and his friend Anil Bheda were apprehended by police from the Vashi region of Navi Mumbai. Later that evening, Gupta was declared dead in what was initially reported as an encounter near Versova, Western Mumbai. However, subsequent investigations revealed the encounter to be staged.

A bench comprising Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse delivered the verdict, stating, “The prosecution has successfully demonstrated that Ramnarayan Gupta was killed in police custody and the incident was later portrayed as a legitimate encounter.” The High Court’s decision also confirmed the life sentences of 13 other individuals, including 12 former police officers and one civilian, all of whom played roles in the incident.

The convicted former officers include Nitin Sartape, Sandeep Sarkar, Tanaji Desai, Pradeep Suryavanshi, Ratnakar Kamble, Vinayak Shinde, Devidas Sapkal, Anant Patade, Dilip Palande, Pandurang Kokam, Ganesh Harpude, and Prakash Kadam. A civilian, Hitesh Solanki, was also implicated.

Bombay High Court -Pradeep Sharma

Justice Godse’s bench has ordered Sharma to surrender to the trial court within three weeks. This ruling underscores the judiciary’s commitment to upholding justice and sends a strong message against the abuse of law enforcement powers.