Mumbai: 10 years in jail for seven of Pujari gang

Two were acquitted - one of them Sharad Agarwal, who had turned a prosecution witness and testified against his accomplices.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Saturday, September 17, 2022, 11:10 PM IST
article-image
Seven members of a gang get 10 years jail for extortion attempt on businessman |

A special court has sentenced seven accomplices of gangster Suresh Pujari to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for attempting to extort Rs 10 crore from a businessman in 2015. Two of them, including one Sharad Agarwal, had turned prosecution witnesses and testified against others and were acquitted.

Pujari, who was on the run for 15 years, was deported from the Philippines in 2021, and is in prison for the murder of a cable operator in Ulhasnagar in 2015.

The special court designated under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime (MCOCA), in its judgment on Friday, also imposed a fine of over Rs 15 lakh each on the men – Prakash Bichal alias Pakya, Mubasheer Sayyed alias Vakil, Gautam Mehta alias Dany, Chottelal Jaiswar alias Raju, Krishna Khandagale, Naresh Shetty and Ravi Gaikwad.

The convicts have spent six years and nearly 11 months in prison as undertrials, which will be deducted from their sentence.

In September 2015, the businessman (a finance broker) started receiving extortion calls from an international number. The caller had identified himself as Suresh Pujari from Malaysia and had demanded Rs 10 crore in two days and threatened to kill him if the demand wasn’t met. Two of the accused had collected the extortion amount and had sent it to two others.

The court noted that evidence on record indicated that the offence of conspiring and trying to extort the businessman is proved. Moreover, the accused hatched the plan to kill the broker if he didn’t fulfil their demand. The court pointed out that the main accused had also purchased a firearm. It observed that if the police party had not apprehended him and his co-accused, they would have succeeded in executing their plan to kill. 

The men had sought leniency mainly on family situations. Special MCOCA judge BD Shelke said in the judgment that the provisions of the Act have been incorporated with a specific objective to deter offenders from committing organised crime against society.

The court, however, noted that a serious crime such as murder has not been committed and hence the role of the accused also needs to be considered. It said that it is of the opinion that a lenient view is required to be taken and a lesser sentence imposed.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav to meet Sonia Gandhi to discuss opposition consolidation for 2024...

Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad Yadav to meet Sonia Gandhi to discuss opposition consolidation for 2024...

6 IAF officers charged with murder after trainee cadet found hanging

6 IAF officers charged with murder after trainee cadet found hanging

PM Modi ensured India's voice is heard by all: Venkaiah Naidu at launch of book 'Sabka Saath Sabka...

PM Modi ensured India's voice is heard by all: Venkaiah Naidu at launch of book 'Sabka Saath Sabka...

IIM CAT 2022 application window closes on September 26; here's how to edit application form

IIM CAT 2022 application window closes on September 26; here's how to edit application form

CSIR Day: When and why Council of Scientific and Industrial Research was established; read to know...

CSIR Day: When and why Council of Scientific and Industrial Research was established; read to know...