Mumbai: Was Pradeep Sharma, the former encounter specialist of Mumbai Police, on the payroll of gangster Dawood Ibrahim? The don’s rival claims so.
The Maharashtra government on Sunday sacked Sharma, who has killed 112 criminals in encounters, on the charge of keeping links with the underworld. Sharma allegedly had linked deals with gangsters Chota Shakeel, Abu Salem, Ijaz Lakdawala and Hemant Poojari too.
The state government invoked Section 311 of the Constitution and dismissed Sharma, 46, capping months of departmental action that included suspension for prolonged periods, departmental inquiries, and a transfer to a far away district he declined to accept on health grounds.
Gangster Chhota Rajan, a few days before Sharma’s dismissal, gave a telephonic interview to Marathi channel IBN Lokmat in which he claimed Dawood had ‘benaami’ properties in several cities and he got help from the police. “As for the police, it is a known fact that Sharma works for Dawood,” Shakeel said.
“Sharma has acquired properties worth crores in the name of Dawood’s associates. He claims he can’t be arrested because he is in the drugs business with Dawood. He has lots of money and claims no one can take action against him because he has bought off everyone, even the Home Ministry and the police department,” Rajan told IBN Lokmat, CNN-IBN’s sister channel.
Sharma denies the allegations mentioned in his dismissal order and has said he will appeal against the sacking. "I'll fight it out in the court," he said on Sunday.
Among other things, he has been accused of allegedly keeping links with the underworld whose operatives he regularly silenced with his bullets and of amassing wealth through questionable means.
Over the past few years, Sharma, who was featured in a Time magazine interview, has vehemently denied all charges against him. He would often say: “Mumbai underworld is like a gutter. It is we people who clean it up.”
Sharma, former head of Mumbai Police’s crime investigation unit, was dismissed after a probe. Son of a college professor, he is one among a long list of Mumbai Police heroes who have fallen from public grace.
The list includes former city police commissioner R.S. Sharma, former joint police commissioner (crime) S S Wagal and former deputy commissioner of police (crime) Pradeep Sawant.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)