Monday, October 17, 2011

The verdict on the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case: Appaling failure of Proscecution

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The journalist Shivani Bhatnagar was killed in New Delhi in a secure high rise appartment in January 1999. An IPS officer who was on secondment to I K Gujrals' office was the prime suspect. R K Sharma, a Tyagi by caste ans an IPS officer seems to have engaged 3 Tyagi killers from Meerut and Western UP in order to have Shivani Bhatnagar killed. The Lower courts found all 4 of then accused guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The appelate court has acquitted 3 out of the 4 except the actual killer another Sharma called Pradeep Sharma. The hon'ble judges have stated that the quality of the evidence presented was poor and that though they had suspicions, they gave the 3 accused the benefit of doubt. I think such lapses are becoming very common and the common man who has already lost Faith in the political and administrative leadership is rapidly losiong faith in the judiciary as well. If this trend is not checked it will only lead to private justice and we are already seeing signs of private justice. I think failure on the part of the police to get known killers convicted by deliberate misconduct will lead to private justice and that would be quite bad.

The two prosecutors who got the convictions at the lower court were removed from handlinmg this case, The Delhu Police have to answer the question why they were removed. I think there were powerful political interests at work. Second, the motive behind the killing was widely publicised at the time and now it is said that the motive has not been established. If that is so how did the appelate bench find Pradeep Sharma guilty and confirmed the life sentence. Why dis the appealte court disregard the cell phone records of R K Sharma who was in constant touch with the gang of killers. Why is that evidence not germane to the case.

The inordinate delay in pronouncing the judgement without assigning any reasons is yet another factor that points to judicial misconduct. Unfortunately the nation has to suffer the corrupt politicians, criminal police officers, colluding bureaucrats, mediocre journalists, conniving RTI activists, compromised judges, and the list can go on. The solution to all this does not lie in a LOk Pal Bill or a Joke Pal Bill. It lies in the ability of decent citizens to punish the guilty and establish a Republic of Virtue in India.

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