Rohit Dangre

Practicing Criminal Lawyer

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A Personal Tribute To Champion Criminal Lawyer Shrikant Shivade

Remembering his guide, Adv Dangre takes us through some of the most notable cases of legendary criminal lawyer Shrikant Shivade. He was a man who could penetrate the witness and take extraordinary admissions says the lawyer who has worked closely with him.

Legendary Criminal Lawyer Shrikant Shivade breathed his last on January 19 at a private hospital in Pune. His death was mourned by lawyers and non-lawyers in equal measure. Those who knew him, hailed him as a champion at his craft. A master strategist and a grand master in the intricacies of cross examination, Shivade had a fan following of his own.

While he battled with blood cancer in his last days, the golden days of his career saw him winning many court battles and acing trial court matters with elan. 

Shrikant Shivade’s era started in 1981 and has many moments which can be attributed only to a successful lawyer because every case defended by him enlightened his juniors with a new insight. An ILS alumnus, he taught in the same institute till 2001. His favourite subject was Indian Penal Code. Around the same time, he was working with a stalwart in law, Adv. Vijayrao Mohite.  The then senior colleagues of Shrikant Shivade were Adv.Harshad Nimbalkar and Adv. Viraj Kakade.

Defending Congress MLA Omkar Sakpale Amid Social Opposition

The first milestone in his career was successfully defending Congress MLA Pandit Omkar Sakpale in 1995. Sakpale was accused in the infamous Jalgaon Sex Scandal. Determined Shivade had to face tremendous opposition in his social circle amid a lot of media hype. But he believed in fair trial and more importantly, giving a fair opportunity to the accused. His meticulous reading of the chargesheet and the art of cross examination ensured the politician’s acquittal in High Court.

While explaining this case, he had stated that one needs to not just read the papers filed by police but also visit the spot, visualise the probable defence, read medical evidence, and read the statements of the witnesses loudly and in this process, one ends up finding the most probable defence. One of the star admissions of this case was when the victim had admitted about the presence of intrauterine device to prevent pregnancy in spite of the victim being separated for more than 3 years from her husband and not being sexually active.

The sensational murder case involving the 13th Descendant of Shivaji Maharaj

The Sharad Lehve Case during the period between 1999 to 2001 was the second notable case in the career of this Extraordinary Lawyer. Sharad Levhe was allegedly murdered by Udayanraje Bhosale who  the 13th descendent of Shivaji Maharaj. This was a very sensitive case and created ripples in Western Maharashtra.

This case was prosecuted by Special P.P Shri. Ujjwal Nikam for the State and was defended by Adv. D.V.Patil, Adv. Shrikant Shivade and Adv.D.M.Jagtap. In this case as told by Shrikant Sir, there was a very important question about the examination of Udayanraje Bhosale as a defence witness to which Sir was in opposition. Sir, had explained about the niceties including the risks of examining the accused as defence witness and how it could expose the witness to a unescapable dungeon. Sir had also explained about the importance of Section 313 along with the precautionary riders.

Rise of the jewel in the MCOCA Case Slapped On Bharat Shah

THE RISE of the jewel was first witnessed by the legal fraternity when he represented Bharat Shah the diamond merchant and film financer wherein MCOCA was slapped against him. This was the period between 2000 to 2003. The trial was conducted before Designated Court A.P.Bhangale and the defence counsels were Adv.Majid Menon, Adv.Shrikant Shivade, Adv. Dibhang Krishna and Sayaji Nangre. The prosecution was led by none other than Adv.Rohini Salian. In this case the tape-recording evidence proved important which was disproved by the defence and Shah was acquitted of MCOCA.

Getting the only bail in the 2003 Telgi Stamp paper scam

In 2003 - 2004, the Stamp Scam came to fore wherein R.S. Sharma was made accused. In this case, Sir represented R.S. Sharma and whilst assisting V.R. Manohar in Supreme Court for securing bail, he was successful in convincing the Court about the misapplication of the provisions of MCOCA on R.S. Sharma. 

On the observation given by the SC about the same, Shrikant Shivade Sir moved a discharge application and secured discharge for Sharma. He was the only one who was who was discharged in Telgi Stamp Paper Scam. In this case Sir has emphasised how dereliction of duty was not on the part of R.S. Sharma and how the provisions of discharge can be used to benefit the accused by not opening the defence of the accused.

In the meanwhile, around 2005 there were some who were not quite happy with the rise of this man and his Sanad was suspended upon some frivolous complaint made in early years of his practice. The said suspension was stayed by the SC and subsequently due to the death of Dastane the matter stands abetted.

Getting 23 Bails in 30 Days In Pen Urban Co-operative Bank Case

The biggest experience about bail matters was imparted upon me in 2011 when I was assisting Shrikant Shivade Sir in the famous economic fraud case of Pen Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd. This was a major case in Raigad District as almost every household in Raigad had an account and deposit in Pen Urban Bank. His knowledge of bail economic bails, studying court atmospherics, reading demeanor and body language was visible in full flair before the Court.

As many as 23 bail matters were handled by Sir in the span of 30 days. This was the first time when Shrikant Sir and I had a difference of opinion but upon giving me a patient hearing, he accepted my point if view and this gave me a different shade of his personality as otherwise he was considered as  a strong headed man. 

In the Pen Urban case, he also worked on an anticipatory bail for the kingpin and the best part was that he walked out of the Court securing interim relief within a matter of few minutes. This was the magic of this man who knew what he was doing. I had never seen Shrikant Sir so very elevated. On that day while coming back from Alibaug , he expressed that he wanted to become a Senior Counsel.

Although, he is often remembered as Salman Khan’s Lawyer courtesy media headlines but many believe that his biggest contribution is that he was Colonel Purohit's lawyer in the Malegaon blast case. 

If a man is working for Indian Army, he should be protected, Shivade was quoted as saying back then.

His emphasis on the importance of DNA collection in the Shiney Ahuja maid rape case was particularly notable. He had also represented Peter Mukerjea in Sheena Bora murder case. 

He was a man who could penetrate the witness and take extraordinary admissions with such an ease that always left everyone in awe. The man who taught me to be diligent about every single document in the charge sheet and especially the medical evidence. He was a man who would not argue a matter without he being satisfied about the same, A man who would be sitting at 1.30 AM on the floor of his balcony reading his case when at the same time he would make me prepare brief in the office. Many more things can be said and talked but pages would fall short. Legends of the Bar never die, they live their legacy behind for everyone to imbibe.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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