MUMBAI: Pradeep Sharma, popularly known as the ‘encounter specialist’ cop is all set to start new innings by contesting Maharashtra assembly polls from Nalasopara constituency in Mumbai’s neighbouring Palghar district as the state government has accepted his resignation.
Though home department officials said that Sharma’s resignation, which he had furnished a couple of months back, has been accepted, Sharma said that he would only speak about it only after he receives all the relevant official documents.
“I too heard that my resignation has been accepted. But, I haven’t received any official communication in this regard as yet. I shall speak only after I receive the official communication,” Sharma told The New Indian Express.
His close associates, however, confided that he is all set to join Shiv Sena and would be contesting from Nalasopara, a constituency that has a stronghold of Hitendra Thakur’s Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) which is represented by Kshitij Thakur.
The 1983 batch officer, who was heading the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Thane police, was due to retire in May 2020, but he opted for voluntary retirement in July this year. He has reportedly shot dead more than 100 criminals in ‘encounters’.
Though his resignation has been accepted, Sharma won’t be able to get retirement benefits like pension etc. till the Bombay High Court gives its verdict on a petition challenging Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) order in the Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya alleged fake encounter case, the home department officials said.
Sharma, 59, originally hails from Agra in Uttar Pradesh. His father was a professor in Dhule district. His batchmates include officers like Prafulla Bhosale, Ravindranath Angre and Vijay Salaskar, who laid down his life during the 26/11 terror attacks.
He was sacked by the state government from service in 2008 for his alleged links with Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim gang and his role in the encounter case. A sessions court in 2013 acquitted Sharma in the alleged fake encounter case and he was reinstated in police force in 2017. His role has been portrayed in several Bollywood movies.
Sharma was instrumental in breaking the backbone of underworld in Mumbai. He led encounter involving LeT terrorists and arrested fugitive underworld don Dawood’s younger brother Iqbal Kaskar on charges of extortion last year. He is now expected to join the Shiv Sena to encounter the Thakur bastion of Palghar district.