Convicted top cop R.K. Sharma spends days praying, meditating

March 23rd, 2008 - 3:43 pm ICT by admin  

By Sahil Makkar
New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) Former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer R.K. Sharma, convicted in the 1999 murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar, has gone into a depression, and spends most of his time praying and meditating, say prison sources. He has stopped playing badminton, which he is fond of, and has been eating little in his Tihar Jail cell ever since his conviction for murder March 18.

A city court is to announce the sentence on Sharma Monday. The prosecution is lobbying for the death sentence on Sharma, who along with three associates was held guilty of the murder.

“When the trial was nearing completion, Sharma probably had a hint of the outcome,” a Tihar Jail source told IANS.

“Nearly two months ago he had asked a visiting sessions judge to provide telephone facilities to convicted inmates inside the prison. He strongly advocated the demand, but it was turned down,” the source added.

According to the jail manual, under-trial and convicted inmates are not allowed such facilities.

Sharma, who has been put up in Jail No.1 since September 2003, has confined himself to the four walls of his cell since the past week.

“He has stopped playing badminton, a game which he is fond of. Most of the time he remains in his cell and can be spotted sitting in front of Lord Shiva’s idol with folded hands. He doesn’t speak with his fellow inmates but prays quietly,” the source said.

“Sharma is under tremendous mental depression and does mediation for at least half-an-hour twice a day. His appetite has also fallen sharply. He just eats two-three chapattis a day.”

Sharma and his henchmen Pradeep Sharma, Satya Prakash and Sri Bhagwan were last Monday found guilty under Section 302 (murder) and 102 (hatching criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code for the murder of the Indian Express journalist at her east Delhi apartment on Jan 23, 1999.

Shivani was living in the apartment with her infant son when she was killed. The murderers strangled her with an electric wire and stabbed her 10 times with a kitchen knife. Shivani’s neighbours later discovered her body.

The former Inspector General of the Haryana Police was into an intimate relationship with the reporter.

His defence S.P. Minocha has pleaded before Additional Sessions Judge R.K. Shastri for lesser punishment and putting the crime in the category of “normal crime”.

Asked if Sharma is penning a book on his time in jail, the source said he did not know.

Jail officials are now planning to shift Sharma to another jail.

“We are waiting for the final sentence, then we will decide where Sharma will be kept. But it is sure he will be assigned some jail work of his own choice,” said a jail spokesman.

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