Verdict on appeal of Shivani murder case convicts Wednesday

October 11th, 2011 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) The Delhi High Court will Wednesday pronounce its verdict on appeals of former Indian Police Service officer R.K. Sharma and three others against their conviction and life sentence for having journalist Shivani Bhatnagar killed in 1999.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Manmohan Singh will pronounce the judgment.

The same bench on Dec 21, 2010 reserved the judgment on conclusion of arguments by counsel for the prosecution and the defence.

At a point in time during the argument earlier, the standing counsel for the Delhi government had created a stir by submitting that the case could be remanded to the trial court for retrial if Sharma felt that he did not have a fair trial. However, the prosecution later did not pursue this line of argument.

Opposing the allegation of Sharma that he had been framed in the case as the details of the calls that he had allegedly made to his co-accused in the case were manipulated, Delhi Police’s standing counsel Pawan Sharma said the fact was that the investigating agency had received manipulated call details.

He further submitted that Sharma, being a senior police officer and occupying a powerful position in the state police set-up, had used all types of pressure to influence the investigation of the case.

It was due to the power that he misused that he had been able to hush up the case for three long years, Pawan Sharma added.

“One of the 43 prosecution witnesses who had turned hostile during the trial had confessed before the lower court that Sharma had tried to influence him,” the counsel stated earlier.

Assailing details of the mobile phone calls between Sharma and Sri Bhagwan, one of the convicts in the case, counsel for R.K. Sharma submitted that the Delhi Police had fabricated them.

He also charged that the investigating agency had also not been able to put on record details of the talks between the victim and his husband during January 1999.

Shivani, a journalist with the Indian Express, was murdered at her Navkunj Apartments flat at I.P. Extension in east Delhi Jan 23, 1999.

A trial court had convicted the four accused, Sharma, Sri Bhagwan, Pradeep Sharma and Satya Prakash to life imprisonment in March 2008.

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