Mahesh Bhatt
Mahesh Bhatt

Mumbai: At least 10 men were convicted and sentenced to eight years rigorous imprisonment for hatching a conspiracy to kill Bollywood producer-director Mahesh Bhatt and his family members. Of the 10 convicted, four men are alleged members of fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari’s gang.

The special court designated to hear the cases under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) also acquitted two accused from the case. The special judge Shridhar Bhosale convicted the 10 accused of hatching a criminal conspiracy to eliminate Bhatt. The convicts were also booked for threatening Bhatt and his family including daughter Alia Bhatt.

According to the case of the prosecution, the men acted upon the instructions of gangster Ravi Pujari, who wanted to trigger a fear in the Bollywood industry. The gangster wanted to impress fear in the film industry for easily extorting money from the bigwigs of the industry.

It is for attaining this objective, the accused kept threatening Bhatt and his family through phone calls. They even hatched a conspiracy to kill the film-maker, however, their plan was foiled by the Mumbai Police’s crime branch. The police arrested all the 12 men from Thane’s Mumbra, Vasai and Nalasopara areas. The police during interrogation found that the accused had also conspired to get the overseas distribution rights of one of superstar Shahrukh Khan’s films.

The police in its investigation had also found that some of these accused were responsible for 2014’s firing in the air outside the residence of another celebrity Karim Morani, who is the producer of the blockbuster film – Chennai Express. Advocate Pradeep Gharat had conducted the trial in this case as a special public prosecutor. He had examined several witnesses on behalf of the prosecution including Mahesh Bhatt, who had testified before the court in October 2017.

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