Encounter cop Pradeep Sharma has joined Shiv Sena ahead of the upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections. He is likely to contest the assembly polls from Nalasopara assembly constituency. Speaking to media, Pradeep Sharma said, “When I was in the service, I was always inspired by Balasaheb Thackeray. He always stood by us.” He stated further, “I have given my best to the department as a cop, now here to win the hearts and bring change in public life.”
Sharma served in the police department for 35 years. Currently, he is indulged in various types of social work through his NGO – PS Foundation.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said, “When Pradeep Sharma was in police, his gun spoke, now his mann (mind) will speak.”
On being asked about possible candidature of Pradeep Sharma from Nalasopara constituency, Hitendra Thakur, president of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) told Afternoon Voice, “This is not a new news, everybody knows it. BVA leaders and workers have spent five years among people of Nalasopara, it is not a matter of one day. It is not a big issue. They are wise and they better know what to do. BVA workers and supporters will tackle the situation very well.”
Sharma joined the Mumbai police force on January 21, 1983 and was posted at Mahim police station. Noticing his skill of gathering intelligence through human resources, Sharma was transferred to the crime branch to eliminate the dreaded Mumbai underworld, which had gained notoriety in the late 1980s and 90s. He was involved in 112 encounters involving several gangsters, including Parvez Siddiqui, Rafiq Dabbawala, Sadik Kalia and three Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) suspects.
Manisha Kayande, Shiv Sena spokesperson, said. “The party has not announced any candidate from Nalasopara. Yet, these are speculations only. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will take a final decision in this regard.”
His name cropped up in the fake encounter case of Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya. Sharma was dismissed after the Mumbai police invoked section 311 of the CrPC, which the police officer challenged and his dismissal was revoked. The court also acquitted him.
It is worth mentioning that Pradeep Sharma had applied for a VRS on July 4, 2019. Since then there was speculation that he might join the Shiv Sena and fight elections from the Andheri Saki Naka or the Nalasopara constituency. The state government accepted his resignation on September 9, 2019. However, Pradeep Sharma will not 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 fake encounter case.