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Ghanshyam Bhatija murder case:Accused Kalani’s presence sought

Papu Kalani

Thane (Maha) : An application was today filed before a local court seeking presence of all seven accused, including jailed former Ulhasnagar MLA Suresh alias Pappu Kalani, in the hearing of the 1990 Ghanshyam Bhatija murder case.

The case hearing was scheduled to begin today, but none of accused was present in the Kalyan court. The cross- examination of witnesses by the defence counsel was supposed to start today.

Special Public Prosecutor Vikas Patil-Shirgaonkar filed the application seeking presence of the seven accused.

Shirgoankar informed the court of Additional Sessions Judge S P Gogarkar that the case was expedited, as per directions of the Mumbai High Court and the Supreme Court, and the proceedings should be held in the presence of all the accused. Hence, he sought their physical presence in the court throughout the hearing of the case.

The court is likely to decide on the application in next few days.

Kalani and three others have already been convicted and awarded life sentence in the murder case of Ghanshyam’s younger brother Inder Bhatija.

While Ghanshyam (35) was shot dead on February 27, 1990, his younger brother Inder (30) was gunned down two months later (on April 28). Both the murders had taken place in Ulhasnagar town in Thane district.

Bhatijas were relatives of Kalani, but the political rivalry between the families led to their murder, according to the prosecution.

As per the case history, the Bhatija brothers, while working for a BJP candidate during the 1990 Assembly polls, had caught the workers of Kalani, who was contesting the election on a Congress ticket, allegedly indulging in bogus voting on the day of polling on February 27.

When the Bhatija brothers objected to it, Kalani threatened them and after the polling, under instructions from him, three other convicts fired at Bhatija brothers, in which Ghanshyam died. Although Inder managed to escape, he was shot dead two months later.

23 years after the incident, on December 3, 2013, a sessions court in Kalyan convicted Kalani and three others — Baba Gabriel, Bacchi Pande and Arshad Mohammed Tahir — in the Inder Bhatija murder case and sentenced all of them to life imprisonment.

The sentence awarded by Kalyan court was upheld by the Supreme Court. While Kalani was held guilty under IPC section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), the three others were convicted under IPC section 302 (murder).

Two others — Narendra Ramsinghani and Richard Fernandes — were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Kalani, Gabriel, Pande, Arshad, Ramsinghani, Fernandes and Shyam Sunder Karikapatti are accused in the Ghanshyam Bhatija murder case.

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