Morani house firing: Cooked-up story, brought-up star witness

Morani house firing: Cooked-up story, brought-up star witness

In 147-page judgment, the court called actor Sonu Sood as “not a truthful” prosecution witness and pointed out discrepancies in his statement

Bhavna UchilUpdated: Saturday, March 18, 2023, 10:53 PM IST
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Mumbai: In the 2014 case of firing outside film producer Karim Morani’s residence in Juhu, a special court said in its detailed judgment that the prosecution’s star witness was “brought-up”, a police witness tried to “cook-up” a story and that there is a shadow of doubt on whether the incident happened. The court, on Thursday, had acquitted 12 persons of involvement.

As per the crime branch’s case, henchmen of then fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari were responsible for the firing by bike-borne men as the Morani brothers would not heed to his demands for giving promotion rights in the US of the movie ‘Happy New Year’. The men allegedly also fired in the direction of Morani’s watchman and tried to kill him. No one was injured in the incident.

Sonu Sood "not truthful"

In a 147-page judgment, the court called actor Sonu Sood as “not a truthful” prosecution witness and pointed out discrepancies in his statement to the police and before the court. The actor was part of the movie’s cast and had testified that he had received a threatening SMS from someone who claimed to be ‘don Ravi Pujari’. Considering evidence of other witnesses, too, it said the prosecution had failed to prove that the Morani brothers had received threatening calls to their company’s landline.

The watchman, the purported victim, had also testified as the star witness. The court called his evidence “far away from the truth and not a reliable one”. While the watchman told the court that members of Morani family were present at their residence during the incident, one of the Morani brothers had told the court that none of them were present. The watchman also differed from the informant on the locations where the bullets hit.

Questions over evidence

Special Judge BD Shelke also raised questions on the evidence of a “responsible police officer” from the Juhu police station who had arrived at the spot after the incident. Noting discrepancies in his testimony, the court said it appears he has tried to “cook up a story other than reality”. It said the discrepancies “create a shadow of doubt on the incident”. It also observed that he had not inquired with any residents in the four-storey building regarding the incident.

The court noted that a police procedure of recovery of a bullet from the crime scene took place eight days after the incident and said the evidence put forth by prosecution is not free of doubts. The court also pointed out that the prosecution has not clicked photos of a bullet hole on a Gulmohar tree that a bullet had hit in the incident, nor of a dent a bullet had caused on a BMW car. Judge Shelke said these “lacunas” “proved fatal” to the case and created a doubt of the incident.

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