Mumbai : The Bombay High Court on Tuesday admitted an appeal filed by Suhas Roge, convict in the murder of ‘matka king’ Suresh Bhagat, against a sessions court verdict awarding him life sentence for involvement in the crime. The appeal, which would be heard in due course, was admitted by a bench headed by Justice P V Hardas after hearing brief arguments of noted lawyer Adhik Shirodkar.

Bhagat, along with five others, was killed on Alibaug-Pen road near Mumbai on June 13, 2008, when a truck collided with his jeep. Police alleged that it was an orchestrated accident, planned by his wife and others.

Bhagat’s wife Jaya and son Hitesh were also convicted in this case along with four other accused, Suhas Roge, Harish Mandvekar, Kiran Amle and Pravin Shetty.

Two other accused, Kiran Pujari and Shaikh Azimuddin had turned approvers and were granted pardon while the rest were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Only Suhas Roge has moved the Bombay High Court in appeal against the judgement convicting him for the murder of Suresh Bhagat.

According to prosecution, Bhagat’s wife Jaya and son Hitesh wanted to take over his property and his multi-crore gambling (matka) business, so they plotted the crime.

The appellant denied his involvement in the crime and appealed against the judgement citing four grounds. His lawyer Adhik Shirodkar said there were no eye witnesses in this case.

Secondly, Shirodkar argued, there was nothing to show that Roge was involved in the conspiracy. He further said that except for the version of two approvers there was no other evidence to support the prosecution’s case.

He also argued that there was no material to connect the appellant with the crime and that police officers probing the murder had told the trial court that they were not aware as to who had caused the accident although it was a ploy to kill him.

     The lawyer also argued that MCOCA invoked in this case had been dropped initially by the Bombay High Court and later by the Supreme Court on the State’s appeal. –PTI

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