Mumbai Police officer Pradeep Sharma, who attained fame as an encounter specialist, is rumoured to join politics after 35 years of service. Speculations are rife that he will contest in the Assembly elections from Andheri.
While there is no confirmation from Sharma on his political plunge, rumours started when he submitted his resignation on July 4. He still had two years to retire. Sharma confirmed that he tendered his resignation and added that it has not been accepted yet.
"With polls round the corner, he decided to quit...He has met senior leaders of a party. Former police chief Satyapal Singh, two-time BJP MP, who is also his mentor, is supporting him," a source was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Sharma was reportedly involved in over 100 encounters to control the underworld mafia which plagued Mumbai in the 1990s.
Who is Pradeep Sharma?
Sharma, who hails from Dhule in Maharashtra, joined the State Police Service in 1983 as a sub-inspector. In the 1990s, he was part of a team which was in charge of cleaning up Mumbai city. He became famous along with his teammates when they took down gangsters Parvez Siddique, Sadik Kalia, Vinod Matkar, and Rafiq Dabbawalla.
Sharma's team was featured on Time magazine's cover for shooting and killing three suspected LeT terrorists in Goregaon. However, he got into trouble in a custodial death case when one of the suspected terrorists, Khwaja Yunus, died in 2003.
Sharma was then transferred to Amravati, but he but did not join the post. Later, Sharma's name came up in connection with underworld mafia and it was cleared only after he challenged the allegations before the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal and the High Court.
Things took a turn for the worse after Sharma was arrested in 2010 for involvement in an alleged fake encounter of one of Chhota Rajan's acquaintances – Ramnarayan Gupta. He was acquitted of all charges in 2016 and joined as the head of Thane crime branch's anti-extortion cell.