Wednesday, August 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Shivani murder case
IG Sharma’s bail plea rejected
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
A Delhi court here today rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Haryana Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ravi Kant Sharma in the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case.

Additional Sessions Judge J.P. Singh dismissed the anticipatory bail plea after hearing arguments by Mr Sharma’s counsel Dinesh Mathur and Public Prosecutor S.K. Saksena.

In the order, Mr J.P. Singh said: “The evidence so far prima facie shows that it was a well-planned and brutal murder pointing an accusing finger at the applicant (Sharma).”

“Needless to say that conspiracy is being hatched behind the doors and a thorough investigation and intensive interrogation is needed to unravel the truth,” he said.

Quoting police report he said: “The fingerprints on the gift box found at the site of murder matched with the fingerprints of another accused Pradeep.”

The confessional statements of accused Sri Bhagwan and Pradeep, had pointed an accusing finger at Sharma, Mr J.P. Singh said.

“The investigation is at a very crucial stage. Despite issue of a non-bailable warrant, the accused has been evading arrest till today,” he said.

“Considering all facts and circumstances of the case, I do not find it a fit case for granting anticipatory bail to the accused,” said the three-page order.

This is the third anticipatory bail plea of Mr Sharma dismissed by courts.

Senior counsel Dinesh Mathur said his client had been interrogated from May to July in 1999 and wanted to know what new documents or evidence had surfaced against Mr Sharma for the Delhi police to want him in custody.

Mr Sharma was a respectable citizen and had already cooperated with the police, he added.

Citing Supreme Court judgements, he said anticipatory bail could be granted in extraordinary cases, if the accused was suspected to be involved in a case.

Opposing the bail application, Mr Saksena said Mr Sharma’s IPS status did not automatically qualify him to be granted anticipatory bail.

Stating that the Delhi police, investigating the January 23, 1999 murder of Indian Express Principal Correspondent Shivani Bhatnagar, wanted to interrogate Mr Sharma in custody, Mr Saksena said new material had surfaced to show that he had “intimate relations” with her.

The mobile phone accounts of both Mr Sharma and Shivani showed that they were constantly in touch, he added.

The Delhi police has named Mr Sharma, a senior IPS officer presently posted as IGP (Prisons) in Chandigarh, as the “master mind” behind the murder of Shivani Bhatnagar. The police has said Shivani was “creating problems” for Mr Sharma and this had prompted him to hire some goons to murder her.

Mr Sharma, who is in hiding, alleged in his bail plea that he was “being falsely implicated and was made a scapegoat at the behest of people who belong to the higher echelons of society. They are the real culprit.”

“There is neither any allegations against Mr Sharma nor his name figured in the FIR,” the application added.

On Saturday, the Sessions court at Panchkula in Haryana had rejected Mr Sharma’s anticipatory bail application.

Two of the accused in the case Sri Bhagwan and Pradeep, who were among the hired assassins, have been arrested by the Delhi police.

The police said their interrogation had revealed their links with Mr Sharma and the role he played in plotting the murder.

PANCHKULA: Ms Pragati Sharma and her sister, Ms Komal Sharma, daughters of IG Sharma have accused the Delhi police of harrasing them.

Talking to mediapersons here today, they said that they had received an anonymous call saying that a Delhi police team had been dispatched for Panchkula in order to arrest their mother, Ms Madhu Sharma. They said that their mother was away to Delhi in order to consult their lawyers.

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