Former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma on Wednesday withdrew his nomination to contest the upcoming Assembly elections from the Andheri (East) constituency. The former police inspector had told Newsline before filling up his nomination form, “The police force always comes first for me. Politics comes later.” Sharma was dismissed from service.
Sharma had filed his nomination on RPI ticket. An RPI spokesperson said the BJP gave them only eight seats in Mumbai, which did not include Andheri (East). “The RPI had sponsored Sharma for Andheri initially, but after our seat-sharing agreement with the BJP, the Andheri (East) seat was reserved for a BJP candidate. Hence, he had to withdraw his nomination,” said the spokesperson.
“Around 2 pm, Sharma came to the election centre at Gundavali Municipal School in Andheri (East) and submitted his withdrawal form,” said Returning Officer Vilas Naik.
Fifteen candidates had filed their nominations from the constituency. Two Independent candidates also withdrew their nominations before the 3 pm deadline on Wednesday.
Sharma had declared assets worth Rs 39 crore, including flats and two commercial premises in Andheri (East) and Thane. Most of the immovable property was in the name of Sharma’s wife Swikriti.
The encounter specialist, who declared a fire arm worth Rs 25,000, showed immovable property worth over Rs 14 crore in the name of his wife. She had also given loans worth 11.50 crore to persons/institutions.
The frontrunners in the contest from Andheri (East) will now be Congress’ three-time MLA and state health minister Suresh Shetty, Shiv Sena’s Ramesh Latke, BJP’s Sunil Yadav, MNS’s Sandeep Dalvi and NCP’s Akhilesh Singh.