Ex-MLA Pappu Kalani gets life for 1990 murder

MumbaiPappu Kalani (right) outside the Kalyan sessions court on Tuesday. Deepak Joshi

A Kalyan sessions court on Tuesday sentenced former Ulhasnagar MLA Pappu Kalani and three others to life imprisonment for the murder of BJP activist Inder Bhateja in 1990. Sessions judge Rajeshwari Bapat Sarkar had on Saturday convicted Kalani, Bachie Pandey, Baba Gabriel and Harshad Shaikh. While Pandey, Gabriel and Shaikh were held guilty of murder, Kalani was held guilty of being part of the conspiracy.

Inder was killed barely two months after his brother Ghanshyam Bhateja was shot dead on February 27, 1990. At the time, while Kalani was contesting the Ulhasnagar Assembly seat as a Congress candidate, the Bhateja brothers were supporters of the BJP candidate Sheetaldas Harchandani. The brothers had a construction business.

According to the prosecution, during polling on February 27, when the Bhatejas caught Kalani's associates casting bogus votes, they were threatened with dire consequences. The same evening, allegedly on Kalani's instructions, the accused gunned down Ghanshyam in front of Pinto Park Hotel, while Inder managed to escape but was later gunned down.

mumbai.newsline@expressindia.com

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