Mumbai: A local court here on Monday framed
charges against 22 accused, including encounter special
Pradeep Sharma, in the alleged fake encounter of Ram Narayan
Gupta alias Lakkhan Bhaiya, a suspected Chotta Rajan aide.
All the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges of
murder, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and rioting among
others, before the Sessions Court. Sharma is the key accused
in the 2006 case.
The trial is likely to start from March 16.
Gupta was killed by the police on November 11, 2006 in
suburban Versova on suspicion that he was a member of the
Chotta Rajan gang. His brother, advocate Ram Prasad Gupta, had
on November 15, 2006 moved a petition in the Bombay High Court
alleging that he was murdered by police in a fake encounter.
The High Court, in February 2008, ordered a magisterial
inquiry into the encounter. In August 2009, the Magistrate, in
his report, concluded that Gupta was killed in cold blood.
Later, the High Court formed a Special Investigation Team
(SIT) to probe the case.
The SIT last year arrested Sharma and senior Inspector
Pradeep Suryawanshi, among others. All accused are lodged in
Thane Central Jail.