Depressed Sharma complains of breathlessness

March 20th, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) A day after he was held guilty of plotting the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar, disgraced police officer R.K. Sharma Thursday looked depressed and complained of breathlessness in court. Additional Sessions Judge Rajendra Kumar Shastri was hearing the arguments on the quantum of sentence for Sharma and three others convicted in the 1999 murder here when Sharma spoke about breathlessness.

The judge asked him if he was comfortable in the chamber or did he want to return to the lock up within the court complex.

“I am fine here. I just need water and my medicine (spray) for my backache,” a seemingly depressed Sharma replied.

The confidence Sharma displayed Wednesday even after being held guilty of the crime was missing Thursday. He appeared restless too, and played with a piece of papers, repeatedly folding it.

The suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer also found it difficult to stand in the court, apparently because of his backache, and sat on a chair that was provided to him. At one time, he used a spray to kill his back pain.

None of his family members - who had broken down Wednesday after he was held guilty - was present Thursday.

Sharma was dressed in a dark purple colour T-shirt and brown trousers. He remained mostly silent as his lawyer challenged the prosecution demand that the former police officer be given the death penalty.

Occasionally, he used a pen to scribble on a piece of paper.

After the judge reserved the sentence for March 24, Sharma suddenly became tense and asked his counsel that he be given a copy of the judgement.

“I will not go to the lock up and will move from here only when I get the copy of the judgement,” a defiant Sharma told a police officer when he was ordered to return to the lock up.

Sharma then borrowed a mobile telephone from an acquaintance and made a 10-minute call from the courtroom, a privilege never given to convicts or prisoners facing trial.

Asked how Sharma was allowed to use the telephone, a police officer said later: “We are unaware of the matter and will look into it.”

When a copy of the judgement was finally handed over to Sharma, he started reading it carefully. When it was time for him to exit from the court, he held the 115-page ruling in his hand, on his way to the Tihar Central Jail.

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