Published On: Wed, Apr 7th, 2021

Top cops jittery as NIA grills ‘encounter king’ Pradeep Sharma in extortion racket

Mumbai/New Delhi: Seen close to the Shiv Sena leadership and regarded as the ‘encounter king of Mumbai’ for eliminating over 300 criminals, former Senior Police Inspector Pradeep Sharma was quizzed by the National Investigation Agency(NIA) over his series of meetings with Sachin Vaze, the head of Crime Branch’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, arrested on charges of planting an explosive laden SUV near Antilia, house of top industrialist Mukesh Ambani.

Pradeep Sharma, who fought the Maharashtra Assembly polls on a Shiv Sena ticket in 2019

Former encounter specialist Sharma’s interrogation adds a new twist to the much talked about extortion racket in India’s commercial capital which has hitherto seen the resignation of Anil Deshmukh, the high-profile Home Minister of Maharashtra. Sources said that Sharma’s questioning can shed light on the role of several cops and political leaders associated with Vaze.

Sources said that Pradeep Sharma, who fought the Maharashtra Assembly polls on a Shiv Sena ticket in 2019, had been in regular touch with his former protege Vaze, as per the call data records of the mobile phones used by the accused police officer.

To probe deep into the mystery of planting an SUV near Ambani’s house, and Vaze’s links with higher officials, the NIA summoned Sharma at its office in Mumbai on Wednesday. “This nexus of police and politicians involved in the extortion racket has to be exposed. We hope the NIA will gather evidence and unmask the leaders in the government, patronising the extortion racket,” Ram Kadam, spokesperson of the BJP said.

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