Sharma happy but asks media to ‘draw a line’

March 24th, 2008 - 10:15 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Former top cop R.K. Sharma heaved a sigh of relief after the court awarded him a life term for the 1999 murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar, but asked media “to draw a line” while reporting the matter. Dressed up in a pink T-shirt and brown trousers, Sharma flashed a smile soon after the verdict - as if he was expecting a harsher punishment.

Pointing fingers at the mediapersons in the courtroom at Karkardooma here, he said: “You should draw the line somewhere while reporting the things. You should not report everything blindly.”

Looking satisfied, he was seen exchanging greetings with other three convicts, who too were given the life terms.

Sharma, former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, and three others were sentenced to life imprisonment after they were Tuesday held guilty of murder and criminal conspiracy under sections 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the killing of the Indian Express journalist at her east Delhi apartment Jan 23, 1999.

In the verdict, the judge noted that Sharma and Bhatnagar despite being already married to others had developed an intimacy that was not acceptable to society.

The court slapped a fine of Rs.20,000 on Sharma, and ordered his henchmen Pradeep Sharma, Sri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash to pay a fine of Rs.10,000 each.

Soon after the sentence was pronounced, Additional Sessions Judge Rajendra Kumar Shastri asked the four convicts if they will deposit the amount of the fine Monday itself. Sharma replied: “I am like a beggar. I am in jail for the past six years and did not carry cash like this.”

The judge then asked him to relax and ordered the court staff to collect the fine later and complete other necessary formalities.

None of Sharma’s relatives turned up when he was held guilty, but on Monday his paternal aunt and uncle along with a distant relative were present in the court.

“Sharma was a very bright child and it is his bad luck that he landed in such a trouble. We will definitely move the high court against the order,” said Brij Bala, the convict’s paternal aunt.

However, his sister Mala Sharma avoided media persons. “I don’t want to comment,” was all she said.

When some media persons approached R.K. Sharma for his reaction to the verdict, he said: “What are you asking me? Obviously, I am not feeling good about the verdict.”

Meanwhile, Pradeep Sharma’s wife and maternal aunt were present in the court as usual. “We will appeal in the high court soon against the verdict,” said Kusum Sharma, maternal aunt of Pradeep Sharma.

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