Mumbai: Life convict in Pakmodia firing case gets bail in case of threatening a witness

A life convict in the 2011 Pakmodia street firing case of shootout outside underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s brother Iqbal Kaskar’s home was granted bail by a sessions court on Monday in a case registered against him for threatening a key witness, while he was an undertrial in the firing case, to depose falsely in court.

Shaikh, serving sentence in Nagpur jail, had sought bail on the grounds of Sec 496(A) of the CrPC, by which an accused can avail bail if he has undergone more than half of the sentence prescribed for the offence. Shaikh’s advocate had argued that the maximum sentence for his offences is seven years and he had been in prison since March 2015 and hence completed six years as an undertrial.

The court considered this and the fact that the trial in the case for which he had threatened the witness, had completed, while granting the relief.

While the don’s younger brother was not at home during the incident, his driver Arif Bukha was killed in the firing. Abdul Rashad Shaikh was convicted in August 2015 for supplying weapons used in the firing by two shooters - Indralal Khatri and Bilal Mustafa Syed, who were also convicted along with him. Four - including gangster DK Rao, who allegedly financed the shootout and Chhota Rajan’s gang member Umer-ur-Rehman, who was accused of hatching the conspiracy, had been acquitted for lack of evidence.

The present case was lodged against Shaikh as a key witness in the firing case had alleged that Shaikh, who had called him to Arthur Road Jail where he was lodged then, had threatened him in the reception of the prison through one Asim Shah. The court conducting the trial in the Pakmodia case had then directed the prosecution to inquire into the allegation. Thus an FIR had come to be registered against Shaikh, Shah and another woman. They had been booked under Sec 195(A) of the IPC for threatening a person to give false evidence and Sec 201 for causing disappearance of evidence.

The witness had alleged that before the firing, Shaikh, whom he was acquainted with, had given him a packet covered with cloth that contained weapons. After some days, he had then taken it from him and shortly thereafter, the witness, who was a resident of Pakmodia street where the firing had taken place, had heard the gun firing. He then knew that Shaikh was involved in it. Shaikh had allegedly threatened the witness not to take his name in court.

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