Shivani Murder Accused’s Acquittal Challenged

 

New Delhi: The Delhi Police Wednesday challenged in the Supreme Court the acquittal of R.K. Sharma, the main accused in the 1999 murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar by the Delhi High Court. Besides Sharma, two others Shri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash were also acquitted.

Sharma, a former Indian Police Service officer, was convicted and awarded life imprisonment by a trial court for his involvement in Bhatnagar’s murder.

The Delhi High Court acquitted Sharma in October 2011. The petition challenging the high court order said that the judgment acquitting Sharma was “contrary to law, evidence on record and the probabilities of the case”.

The petition said that the high court was not justified in acquitting Sharma, Shri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash of conspiracy charges, read with murder, on the ground that the prosecution failed to establish a linkage between them and accused Pradeep Sharma who actually committed the crime.

There was sufficient circumstantial evidence which clearly established that Sharma, Shri Bhagwan, Satya Prakash, Ved Prakash Sharma and Ved Prakash alias Kalu hatched a criminal conspiracy to kill Bhatnagar, the petition said.

Pradeep Sharma joined the conspiracy later and killed Bhatnagar, it said.

Faulting the high court verdict, the petition said that it “failed to consider that the accused were involved in the conspiracy to kill Bhatnagar and there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to connect the accused with the murder”.

”The circumstances relied upon by the prosecution give rise to conclusive inference of an agreement between the accused to commit the offence,” it said.

The petition said that the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution included that there was intimate relationship between Sharma and Bhatnagar. While accused Sharma, posted as officer on special duty in the prime minister’s office, had handed over several secret and classified documents to Bhatnagar for various news reports.

Later, Sharma started avoiding Bhatnagar. She threatened to expose him and ruin his career and he made up his mind to kill her, it said.

Sharma conspired with others and held a meeting at Ashoka Hotel here Jan 13, 1999 to the murder. Pradeep Sharma later went to Bhatnagar’s Navkunj Apartment in eas Delhi and killed her, the petition said.

All through the conspiracy, the accused were in touch on telephone, it said.



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