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Sole eyewitness dead,cops tell High Court

The Vashi police submitted a DNA report in the Bombay High Court on Thursday and claimed that one of the prime witnesses in the Ramnarayan Gupta,alias Lakhan Bhaiya.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 22, 2011 12:00:50 am

Lakhan Bhaiya fake encounter z Police file DNA report; trial in case is likely to begin on Friday

The Vashi police submitted a DNA report in the Bombay High Court on Thursday and claimed that one of the prime witnesses in the Ramnarayan Gupta,alias Lakhan Bhaiya,fake encounter case,involving several policemen,was dead. The trial in the case is likely to begin on Friday.

“A body found in Manor jungles in the outskirts of the city has been identified as that of Anil Bheda,the prime witness in the fake encounter case. Bheda,who went missing on March 13 after he left his Navi Mumbai home,was kidnapped and killed,” Additional Public Prosecutor AS Gadkari told the court.

Defence lawyers,however,contended that Bheda’s presence in the dock would have been to their advantage. Bheda,who was a close aide of alleged Chhota Rajan gang member Gupta,had several cases pending against him.

“He changed his stand several times before the magistrate. He would have turned out to be a crucial witness for us as we had enough material to prove that his statement invoked very little faith,” said Advocate Rizwan Merchant,who represents prime accused and suspended police officer Pradeep Sharma. “His deposition had enough loopholes with inconsistent claims that would have gone against the prosecution,” claimed Merchant. Gupta’s brother Ramnarayan will be the first witness to depose before the court on Friday.

In his deposition,Bheda had claimed to have been with the deceased a day before he was killed. “I was travelling with Gupta in a car when 4-5 men came to us,put us into their car and took us to an unknown place,” he had claimed in his statement. According to Bheda,the men had also allegedly identified themselves as “Sharma’s men”.

According to the police,Bheda is the sole eyewitness in the fake encounter case in which several policemen,including encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma,have been arrested. Bheda was summoned by a sessions court to record his evidence against the accused on March 18,for which he never turned up. The police provided a DNA report to the court which confirmed that the bones found at Manor was indeed that of Bheda.

Bheda’s wife Aruna had filed a habeas corpus petition after he went missing on March 13 around 11:30 am. Aruna’s counsel Vijay Pradhan told the court that a report submitted by the Navi Mumbai police on Thursday stated that Bheda was abducted and killed,and his body was disposed in the Manor Jungle in Thane.

“Bheda’s wife believed he was kidnapped and she filed a complaint with us. We were trying to locate him. We later got information that the Manor police had found a body. While investigating the case,we had reason to believe that the bones that were found may have been of Bheda’s,” said Police Inspector (Crime) Ramesh Chaudhary from the Vashi police station.

“We conducted a DNA test by comparing the DNA of the person found dead and Bheda’s father Jethalal. The test results matched. We have given the results as evidence to the court,” said Chaudhary.

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