Mumbai: A Mumbai sessions court has acquitted former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma in the Lakhan Bhaiya case. Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya, killed on Nov 11, 2006, was considered to be underworld don Chhota Rajan's close aide.
Out of the 14 cops initially charged with murder, destruction of evidence and wrongful confinement, all but Sharma have been convicted.
Bhaiya was picked up by Mr Sharma's team from Vashi along with Anil Bheda and later eliminated the same evening in an alleged encounter near Nana Nani Park at Versova in western suburban Mumbai.
Bheda, the key witness to the encounter, went missing from Vashi on March 13, 2011. His decomposed body was found by the Navi Mumbai Police on June 30, 2011.
Four days after Bhaiya's killing, the brother of the deceased moved the Bombay High Court alleging that the encounter was killed in cold blood. The court ordered a magisterial enquiry on Feb 13, 2008.
The enquiry found that bullet that killed Lakhan Bhaiya was hit from point-blank range. Sharma was part of the squad that allegedly staged the encounter. The then Police Commissioner A N Roy had filed an affidavit tendering an apology in the case.
Pradeep Sharma was arrested in the Bhaiya case on Jan 8, 2010.
Sharma was involved in more than 100 encounters in his years of service with the police. He was the first senior encounter specialist to be removed from active duty in 2008, after being accused of having links with the underworld.