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May 24, 2018
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Bhatt case: five years in jail for 10 Ravi Pujari gang membersHad threatened to kill producer-director and his family

The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Wednesday convicted 10 members of gangster Ravi Pujari’s gang, and sent them to prison for five years for threatening to kill producer-director Mahesh Bhatt and his family. Two others have been acquitted.

Those convicted were charged under Section 115 (abetment of offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life), Section 302 (punishment for murder), and Section 120 B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and various sections of the Arms Act.

Twelve gang members were arrested on November 17, 2015. Of them, Ishrat Shaikh, Mohammed Hakikulla Khan, Azim Khan, Ashfaq Abdul Rashid, Asif Sattar Khan, Shahatwal Shaik, Feroz Sayyed, Shabbir Shaikh, Rahim Khan, and Mohammed Anees Merchant have been convicted.

Mr. Bhatt on October 5, 2017, had deposed before special judge Shridhar Bhosale, and said he had been receiving threatening calls from the gang and some of the members were also involved in a firing outside the residences of Bollywood producers Karim and Ali Morani in 2014.

On November 27, 2014, the MCOCA was invoked against the accused. The police said, “Gangster Ravi Pujari wanted to create fear in the Bollywood industry so that he could extort money from celebrities without much effort.”

Special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat told The Media: “This is a very unique case in which the accused after being charged with the MCOCA have been convicted under Section 115 of the Indian Penal Code.”