The Bombay high court crushed the hopes of Pune gangster Kisan aka Baba Bodake of contesting the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra by rejecting his plea for staying his conviction under provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
The division bench of Justice PV Hardas and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai rejected Bodake's plea of staying the conviction primarily on the ground that he was convicted for a serious offence under provisions of the MCOCA and was sentenced to life in prison. The bench said that the power to stay a conviction is to be exercised by the court in rare and exceptional circumstances, particularly when strong case is made out.
On April 8, 2006, a designated MCOCA court had convicted Bodake and some others under section 3(1)(i) (organised crime resulting in murder of any person) of the MCOCA and sentenced all of them to life imprisonment. A year later, on Bodake's appeal, high court suspended the sentence and released him on bail.
On September 12, 2014, Bodake approached high court again and sought stay on his conviction so that he could contest the October 15 state polls. His counsel, advocate Niteen Pradhan argued that the prosecution had failed to establish basic elements of the offence alleged against him.
Pradhan further submitted that Bodake was convicted on the basis of feeble evidence and such a conviction cannot sustain, and urged the court to stay his conviction, as otherwise he would not be eligible to submit nomination form.
Public prosecutor Sandip Shinde, on the other hand, submitted that the power to stay a conviction is required to be exercised in exceptional circumstances and no special case was made out by the applicant. Besides, Shinde also pointed out that no exception can be made in the case as the applicant was convicted for a serious offence and sentenced to life.
The bench accepted Shinde's contentions and rejected the plea filed by the gangster.
In January 2009, Bodake had joined the Nationalist Congress Party, but had to resign from the party a few days later because of his controversial background.