Mumbai Police officer and encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma is all set to make his debut in politics. Sources talking to Republic TV said that Pradeep Sharma will join the Shiv Sena on Friday.
The former encounter specialist will mark his entry into state politics by joining Shiv Sena. Additional reports indicate that Sena is likely to field Pradeep Sharma from Nala Sopara constituency in Maharashtra's Palghar District as it is hoping to gain ground in the constituency. Pradeep Sharma's decision to join politics comes after his resignation was accepted by the Maharashtra government on September 9.
"The Home department accepted Sharma's resignation on Monday," an official had said, adding that relevant orders had also been issued.
However, the official also stated that Pradeep Sharma would not be eligible for retirement benefits like pension, etc., till the Bombay High Court gave its verdict on a petition challenging the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) order in the Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiya alleged fake encounter case.
Pradeep Sharma joined the police force in 1983 as a Sub-Inspector. He has reportedly shot dead more than 100 criminals in 'encounters' which also include some top guns in the underworld. In addition, Pradeep Sharma is the first cop in history of Mumbai Police to appear on the front cover of Time magazine. His encounters earned him the name 'India's Dirty Harry'. Sharma headed the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Thane police when he applied for voluntary retirement in July this year after 35 years of service. He was sacked by the state government from service in 2008 for his alleged links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's gang and his role in an encounter case. A sessions court in 2013 acquitted Sharma in the alleged fake encounter case. He was reinstated in the police force in 2017. After serving at the DG control room for a few days, Sharma was made senior police inspector of the AEC of Thane Police.
The Nala Sopara seat is currently ruled by Hitendra Thakur-led Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) active in Vasai-Virar. Currently, the Nala Sopara seat is represented by the reigning legislator and Hitendra Thakur's son Kshitij Thakur for the last two Vidhan Sabha elections. The BVA has a considerable presence and a stronghold in Palghar District. It has been ruling the roost for years. In 2009 elections, Kshitij Thakur bagged over 89,284 votes, reducing the Shiv Sena to 48,502 votes. Meanwhile, in 2014, the Sena received a more crushing defeat as party candidate Shirish Chavan ended up with just 40,321. Kshitij Thakur, on the other hand, emerged victorious with a whopping 1,13,566 votes. However, with the upcoming Vidhan Sabha polls, the Shiv Sena is looking forward to turning the tables. Local reports also suggest that Sharma and his team have already commenced the groundwork in Nala Sopara since few months ahead of the upcoming polls.