Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the competent authority to restore round-the-clock police protection to advocate Ramprasad Gupta, brother of Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiyya – alleged aide of Chhota Rajan who was killed in an encounter in 2006.
A division bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and Prakash Naik said, “Taking into consideration the overall view of the matter and the complex facts involved therein as and by way of ad-interim relief, we direct the competent authority to provide round-the-clock police protection, as was being provided to the petitioner since 2011 till March 25, 2022 with immediate effect on the same terms and conditions as we were since 2011, i.e. at the cost of State.”
The encounter in suburban Versova
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Mr Gupta, through advocate Akshay Malviya, seeking restoration of police protection due to a threat to his life. Mr Malviya brought to the notice of the HC that without giving any intimation or hearing, Mr Gupta’s police protection was arbitrarily withdrawn from March 25 last year.
On November 11, 2006, a police team picked up Lakkhan Bhaiyya, from neighbouring Vashi on the suspicion that he was a member of Rajan gang, along with his friend Anil Bheda. According to the prosecution, Ramnarayan Gupta was killed in a fake encounter near Nana Nani Park in suburban Versova in Western Mumbai on the same evening. Mr Bheda was released after a month. In March 2011, Mr Bheda was abducted and murdered. His charred remains were found near Manor in rural Thane. Mr Bheda’s murder remains unsolved. After Mr Bheda’s murder, Mr Gupta was provided with police protection immediately in March 2011.In 2014, the sessions court had convicted 21 persons including 13 policemen and sentenced them to life imprisonment on charges of murder of Ramnarayan Gupta.
Matter put up for hearing on Feb 9
Encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma was acquitted in the case.Mr Gupta and the government have filed appeals in the HC challenging Mr Sharma’s acquittal. Those convicted have challenged their conviction. The appeals were admitted in September 2014 and are pending hearing.Meanwhile, order was passed by CP on March 18, 2022, withdrawing Mr Gupta’s security.Despite his appeal, Gupta did not receive any reply from the police hence he filed a petition in the HC.
The HC has kept the matter for further hearing on February 9.
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