‘Daddy’ arrested for extortion
Police storm don-turned-legislator Arun Gawli’s Byculla residence after cousin names him in Rs 25-lakh extortion case. Megha Sood and Mustafa Plumber report.india Updated: Apr 22, 2008 02:33 IST
Chinchpokli legislator Arun Gawli’s heavily fortified Dagdi Chawl residence in Byculla offered him little protection from the police on Monday.
The gangster-turned-politician — known to his men as ‘Daddy’ — was arrested for his alleged involvement in a Rs 25-lakh extortion case.
He will remain in police custody till May 2, following a statement allegedly given to the police by his own cousin, Vijay Ahir.
A Crime Branch team also raided Gawli’s residence and recovered documents related to about 300 housing projects in different parts of the city.
“Gawli’s name was not mentioned in the FIR, based on which I argued for judicial custody,” said Gawli’s lawyer Ishwari Bagaria.
Added his wife Asha: “The police are always targeting us. Gawli is innocent.”
On March 27, Ahir (35) and his associates Dinesh Narkar (23) and Sudhir Ghorpade (40) were arrested for extorting money from a local builder.
During interrogation, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria said on Monday, Ghorpade revealed that he had taken Rs 8 lakh from the man, divided the money and given half each to Ahir and Gawli.
And, now that the police have the former gangster in their grasp, they seem determined to make the most of it.
On April 1, the state police moved the Bombay High Court seeking cancellation of bail granted in a cheating case registered against him by the Economic Offences Wing.
Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said the offence was serious and his custodial interrogation was needed to investigate.
Meanwhile, Maria said Ahir began demanding money from the builder in the current case about four months ago, when the latter started a new project.
Having paid an extortion sum in 2005, the developer would not give in. So Narkar and Ghorpade allegedly took him to Dagdi Chawl at gunpoint to meet Ahir.
On March 25, the developer lodged a complaint with the Crime Branch against Ahir and his aides. The trio was arrested and Rs 18,000 and gold ornaments worth Rs 4.5 lakh were recovered from them. The state had earlier challenged the bail order in the sessions court, to no avail.