Pradeep Sharma, head of the Anti Extortion Cell of Thane Police Crime Branch, who has more than 100 encounters to his name, has resigned.
The Times of India reported that Sharma was to retire in May 2020 but he submitted his resignation on 4 July to the police. While the senior police inspector has confirmed the development, he refused to throw any light over his plans for the future. “I have taken the decision due to personal reasons”, Sharma was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
Post resignation, there have been speculations regarding his entry into politics.
The Times of India quoted sources as saying that Sharma is likely to contest the upcoming Assembly elections from Andheri constituency, even though, it is not clear which party the encounter specialist will join. The report also claimed that Sharma has met senior leaders of a party and that he is backed by two-time BJP MP and former police chief Satyapal Singh.
Who is Pradeep Sharma?
Pradeep Sharma was head of the Anti-Extortion Cell of Thane Police Crime Branch. He entered police service in 1983 and was a major part of the 90’s Mumbai crime branch team which was well known for putting an end to numerous underworld cases in the state. The senior police inspector was featured in the Time Magazine after his team shot down three suspected Let terrorists in Goregaon.
After a total of 111 successful encounters between late 1980’s and early 2000’s, Sharma became the subject of numerous controversies. He was dismissed from service in 2008 for alleged links to the underworld and for his alleged role in the Lakhan Bhaiya fake encounter case. Ram Narayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya was suspected to be an aide of Chota Rajan. In 2010, he was arrested along with 21 other police officials. After spending four years behind bars in Thane, he was finally acquitted in 2013.
After rejoining as head of Thane crime branch anti-extortion cell, he arrested Iqbal Kaskar, brother of Dawood Ibrahim and busted a major extortion racket. Another major arrest that he made was of Sonu Jalan, a bookie who had alleged links with the underworld.
The league of cops who have joined politics
However, Pradeep Sharma won't be an exception if he joins politics. In the past, there have been numerous cases where cops from across the country have looked to make a name for themselves in the political arena.
Former Mumbai Police commissioner Satya Pal Singh joined the BJP in 2014, just a few months before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He quit the job of a police officer, became an MP. He was Minister of State for Human Resource Development responsible for higher education and Minister of State in the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation.
Kiran Bedi, who joined the Indian Police Service in 1972 and became the first woman IPS officer of the county, also took to politics. Bedi was handed a BJP ticket and stood as their chief ministerial candidate. On 22 May 2016, Bedi was appointed as the Lieutenant Governbe or of Puducherry.
Upendranath Biswas, a former IPS officer from West Bengal also entered politics by joining Trinamool Congress. He was an elected MLA from the Bagda constituency in the 2011 West Bengal state assembly election.
HT Sangliana retired in 2003 as Karnataka DGP. He represented Bangalore North constituency for the BJP. He was later given the post of Vice-Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities.
Namo Narain Meena, a former IPS officer of Rajasthan cadre, was elected from the Tonk Sawai Madhopur constituency in Rajasthan as a candidate of the Indian National Congress. He also served as Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment and Forests from 2004–2009.
Updated Date: Jul 19, 2019 14:19:07 IST