A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court today acquitted three suspected members of Ravi Pujari gang of the charge that they had planned to kill a city-based journalist working for a broadsheet two years back.
“MCOCA judge A L Pansare has acquitted Madan Sonkar, Ashutosh Varma and Ram Chauhan in the case. We will study the detailed judgement and then decide on our future course of action”, a crime branch officer said.
The trio were arrested in September, 2014 from near the office of the scribe and police recovered a revolver, five rounds and 11 bogus SIM cards from them.
Police suspected that an article written by the journalist against Pujari in his English language daily was the trigger to plan the murder.
A total of 38 witnesses were examined and the prosecution made Abdul Shaikh, one of the accused, as an approver in the case.
One of the defense lawyers, Jagdish Shetty told PTI that they argued the case on three main points.
“The newspaper office in South Mumbai has seven gates. The prosecution could not prove why the accused were waiting outside two (out of seven) gates. Moreover, they had no specific information about the gate from which the journalist would come out,” he added.
Shetty said they could bring on record that Sonkar, who was claimed to be arrested from his residence in Thane district, was actually at an hospital in Mumbai at that time.
Shetty said the evidence given by the approver was exculpatory and did not give details about his role in the conspiracy.
( Source – PTI )