Guilty top cop Sharma has only sister to comfort him

March 18th, 2008 - 10:00 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) For former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer R.K. Sharma it was a lonely day at a city court Tuesday. His wife, who has attended every court proceeding, was not present when the judge pronounced him guilty in the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar. Except his sister, whom he embraced after the verdict was pronounced, no one else from his family came to the court premises for the hearing.

Madhu Sharma, his wife, had attended every court proceeding since the trial began in 2002. However, Tuesday she was not present in the court.

Sharma, who was wearing a pink t-shirt, was holding his sister’s hand till the verdict was announced in the nine-year-old murder case.

After the judge held him guilty of murder and hatching a conspiracy to kill the Indian Express journalist, Sharma shouted in the jam-packed courtroom: “This is just a publicity stunt.”

He then embraced his sister, who whispered something to him and patted his shoulder.

Even the family members of Shivani Bhatnagar, including her husband and her sister, was not present in the court.

However, the family members of Pradeep Sharma, one of the four held guilty in the murder, were present.

Pradeep’s maternal aunt, who also attended every court proceeding, was firm in her belief that her nephew is innocent.

“My nephew is innocent and was falsely implicated in the case. I will move the high court to get justice,” Kusum Sharma, his maternal aunt, told IANS.

Pradeep’s wife said she would fight for justice for her husband till the very end.

Before the court proceedings began, Pradeep’s wife sat next to him and gave him something to eat.

Sharma and three others have been held guilty under section 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The quantum of sentence will be pronounced March 20.

Shivani Bhatnagar, principal correspondent of Indian Express, was murdered in her east Delhi apartment while she was with her infant son on Jan 23, 1999.

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