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Death sentence sought for cops in a rarest of rare fake encounter case

India on 12 July 2013
Location : Mumbai, India | Source : Times of India.

MUMBAI: The prosecution on Monday sought death sentence for 13 policemen and two civilians convicted for the murder of former Chotta Rajan aide Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya in a fake encounter case in 2006. While three defence lawyers presented arguments against the death term, others will argue on Tuesday, after which the quantum of sentence will be pronounced.

On Friday, sessions court judge V D Jadhavar convicted 21 accused of various charges including murder, abduction and destruction of evidence. Ex-encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma (51), who was the prime accused, was however, found not guilty of any charge.

Special public prosecutor Vidya Kasle relied on several judgments, including the 2011 Supreme Court order, which denied bail to an accused, Prakash Kadam. In the order, a division bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra had observed if policemen were proved guilty of a fake encounter, they should be sentenced to death, treating it the rarest of rare cases.

But contending that the offence did not fall under the rarest of rare category, Sudeep Pasbole, advocate for constables Ratnakar Kamble and Vinayak Shinde, said there was no evidence of the motive. Also, he said, the law sought death penalty for those who could not be rehabilitated and proved a threat to society. "Once the uniform is taken off, the police officer cannot be a threat to society," Pasbola said.

Also opposing capital punishment, defence advocate J G Bhanushali said the character of the person killed had to be considered by the court as one of the mitigating factors. "I am not saying if a person is a gangster he has to be killed. But for one murder, you want 15 people to die?" 

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