Supreme Court Grants Bail to Former Cop Pradeep Sharma in 2006 Fake Encounter Case
In a recent development, the Supreme Court of India has granted bail to former police officer Pradeep Sharma in connection with a 2006 fake encounter case. The decision came after the Maharashtra government expressed no objection to the grant of bail, marking a significant turn in the legal proceedings surrounding this contentious case.
Pradeep Sharma’s journey through the legal system has been marked by twists and turns, with the Bombay High Court convicting him in March 2024 and sentencing him to life imprisonment. The case stems from the encounter killing of Ramnarayan Gupta, also known as Lakhan Bhaiya, an alleged member of Chhota Rajan’s gang. Gupta was picked up on November 11, 2006, in a suburb area of Mumbai and was subsequently killed in what was later deemed a staged encounter.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT), formed on the basis of a High Court order, unearthed evidence suggesting that a rival had paid the police to eliminate Gupta. Following a five-year-long trial, a sessions court in Mumbai acquitted Sharma in July 2013 but convicted 21 individuals, including 13 police personnel, for their involvement in the fake encounter. While some were convicted of murder, others were convicted of abetment.
However, the State government challenged Sharma’s acquittal, leading to a reevaluation of the case by the High Court. After an extensive hearing, the High Court overturned the sessions court’s acquittal and convicted Sharma, along with 12 other police officers and a civilian. This decision prompted Sharma to appeal to the Supreme Court, seeking relief from his conviction and life sentence.
In April, the Supreme Court sought the response of the Maharashtra government to Sharma’s plea challenging his conviction. The court also granted Sharma exemption from surrendering before authorities until further orders. Eventually, the apex court granted bail to Sharma after the Maharashtra government acceded to the request for bail.
The legal proceedings surrounding Pradeep Sharma have garnered significant attention, particularly due to his involvement in other high-profile cases, including the Antilia bomb threat and the murder of businessman Mansukh Hiren in 2021. Sharma’s legal battles serve as a reminder of the complexities and challenges inherent in the Indian judicial system, where justice is often sought amidst intricate legal frameworks and competing interests.
Senior Counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Sidharth Luthra represented Sharma in his legal battle, underscoring the importance of skilled legal representation in navigating complex legal terrain. As Pradeep Sharma awaits further developments in his legal saga, his case continues to raise important questions about accountability, transparency, and the rule of law in India’s criminal justice system.
In granting bail to Pradeep Sharma, the Supreme Court has taken a significant step towards ensuring that justice is served fairly and impartially, while also upholding the principles of due process and the right to a fair trial. As the legal proceedings unfold, all eyes will remain on the courts as they navigate the intricacies of this high-profile case.

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