Two alleged Chhota Shakeel associates were acquitted on Saturday in an alleged extortion case by the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court.
The defence argued that the police were trying to implicate the accused in a false extortion case.
The prosecution said that in 2006, builder Mulji Ansari got extortion calls demanding Rs 25 lakh and threatening him with dire consequences if he failed to pay.
The prosecution also contended that Ansari filed a case with the Anti-Extortion Cell on July 21, 2006, claiming that a person identifying himself as an aide of gangster Chhota Shakeel came to his office and demanded money from him.
Further the prosecution contended that the next day a trap was laid and Lukman Kamal Shah — one of the accused who had come to Ansari’s office to collect the money — was arrested.
The prosecution also said the police arrested the other accused, Santosh Waghmare, on August 9, 2006, while another accused Shanwaz Khan was killed in an encounter.
The prosecution submitted that they had the CCTV images of Waghmare visiting the office on June 21 and Shah visiting the office on June 22.
However, during the trial, advocate Abdul Wahab Khan argued that the CCTV image of June 21 showed Santosh entering the builder’s office but did not show him going out.
Khan also pointed that two others present behind Shah, when he visited the office on June 22, were police officers. Khan argued that Shah was already arrested and was brought to the builder’s office. Khan also argued that the entire case was fabricated to implicate his clients.
“The evidence that the prosecution were relying upon to prove their case proved beneficial to us,” said Khan. Chhota Shakeel and Fahim Machmach are still wanted in the case.