The prosecution on Monday sought death penalty for 14 policemen and two others, convicted in the case related to the fake encounter killing of Ram Narayan Gupta alias Lakkhan Bhaiya, an alleged aide of fugitive gangster Chhota Rajan.
On Friday, Mumbai sessions court convicted 21 persons, including 14 policemen, but acquitted the former `encounter specialist' police officer Pradeep Sharma.
"Lakhan was unprotected, and in their (police's) custody," special prosecutor Vidya Kasle said, seeking the capital punishment for the policemen, including former senior inspector Pradeep Suryavanshi, who had led the encounter team.
The Supreme Court had held in previous cases that where death is caused by police officers, be it a case of custodial death or encounter, harsher view has to be taken. The present case was a cold-blooded murder, and Gupta was picked up by the police only to be shot, she said.
Advocate Kasle also demanded capital punishment for two accused who were not policemen - Shalendra Pandey and Akhil Khan - arguing that they had played an active role in killing. The defence lawyers said that death punishment should not be given, keeping in mind the families of the accused. "For a murder, why should there be murder of 16 families", argued advocate G J Banushali.
Defence also argued that convictions were based only on circumstantial evidence, so capital punishment should be avoided. Further, they said that Gupta was a gangster, had been charged with offences such as dacoity and murder, and the character of the murdered person was a relevant fact.