IPS officer R K Sharma, 3 others gets life term in Shivani case

IPS officer R K Sharma, 3 others gets life term in Shivani case Senior IPS officer R K Sharma was awarded life imprisonment by a Delhi court in the sensational Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, saying he did not deserve the death penalty due to his "excellent" service record. Suspended Inspector General of Police R K Sharma was today sentenced to life imprisonment in the sensational Shivani Bhatnagar case by a Delhi court which held that the murder of the journalist was "abominable" but not one that could shock the conscience of society. While sparing him the gallows, the court said "except for the crime in question Sharma was an asset to the nation" with an unblemished service record. Shivani, a senior journalist with Indian Express, was brutally stabbed to death in her east Delhi apartment on January 23 1999, while she was alone with her two-month-old son. Sharma conspired with three others to eliminate Shivani as he wanted to walk out of his "intimate" relationship with her, something that prompted her to threaten him. "I am not in consonance with the prosecution labelling R K Sharma as a danger to the society," Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri said, while awarding life terms to other three convicts hired killer Pradeep Sharma and property dealers Sri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash. Fiftyfour-year-old R K Sharma, a 1976-batch Haryana cadre IPS officer, wearing a pink T-shirt and blue jeans, looked pensive as he entered the packed Karkardooma court but soon there were signs of relief as the judge declined the prosecution plea to award him death sentence and imposed life term. "No doubt, the murder in itself is an abominable and heinous crime, offender of which can never be pardoned but the offence under consideration was not of that ilk which could shock the conscience of the society," the court noted in its 13-page order on quantum of sentence. The court slapped a fine of Rs 20,000 on Sharma and Rs 10,000 each on the other three convicts. In his order, the judge made a mention of "distinguished services" rendered by Sharma who "earned appreciation during his tenure everywhere." "...it blows my mind, will it be a condign punishment for such a wrong doer, to dump him in jail till he breathes his last (life imprisonment)," fast track court judge Shastri said. Does he deserve such retributive sentence? the judge put a poser. Shivani was found with 10 stab wounds and signs of strangulation. "What should be an appropriate punishment in such cases, is for the people of this country or for the legislators...to decide," he said, observing "to grant a pardon or to retrieve the sentence is the discretion of the executive, the same cannot be taken for granted." Incarceration in jail is deprivation of personal liberty and is "nothing more than an animal existence...it will indeed be a dead stop of his public life," the court said, observing "what to say of giving a chance to improve himself, the prisoner will hardly have any occasion to interact with people outside his cell." This court is bound by law...and has no option but to award at least the minimum punishment prescribed by law, he said. The judge said Sharma is one of the most senior police officers in the Haryana cadre and was eligible to hold the highest police post in that state. "Even as per prosecution, convict R K Sharma thought of eliminating the victim, enraged by the latter's threats to expose him," he observed.

Published in Criminal Law
Source : india.gov.in,
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