File photo of underworld don Chhota Rajan.
File photo of underworld don Chhota Rajan.

A special court designated under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) has rejected the CBI’s plea for the court to accept a closure report in a 2005 murder case in which former underworld don Chhota Rajan and five others are accused.

The CBI’s Investigating Officer had submitted along with the closure report that no strong case worth prosecution is made out against Chhota Rajan and other co-accused. The statements of material witnesses cannot be treated as reliable and trustworthy, the officer had stated. Also, that mere business rivalry cannot be a strong motive for murder.

He had further pointed out that witnesses had turned hostile in trial against the arrested accused earlier. The court said in its order while rejecting the closure report that whether the witnesses are reliable and trustworthy can only be testified by way of evidence.

Special Judge AT Wankhede went ahead and took cognizance of the offences against the accused, concluding that there is sufficient material to proceed against the accused.

It said that the statements of the witnesses clearly point out the involvement of Rajan and others in the offence. The fact that the witnesses turned hostile in the trial against the arrested accused, it said, is not sufficient to accept the report of the IO of the CBI.

Trial against three arrested accused of Rajan’s gang had ended in acquittal in 2011. While one accused against whom a supplementary chargesheet was filed, was discharged, trial continues against another two accused in a Thane court.

The case pertains to firing on a cable operator Sanjay Gupta by entering his shop and cabin, in which he had been killed. Allegedly, there was business rivalry between and one accused Pradeep Madgaonkar who used to run cable business in Panvel. Madgaonkar, along with Rajan and his gang eliminated Gupta to create terror in the area.

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