A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Friday convicted alleged Chhota Rajan aide Vicky Malhotra in an extortion case but acquitted another alleged Rajan gangster, Ravi Mallesh Bora alias D.K. Rao.
The court, however, dropped the MCOCA charges and convicted six accused on charges of extortion and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) instead. Five others were acquitted.
The case pertains to an extortion attempt made in Delhi in 2005 when the gangsters allegedly called up a diamond merchant and demanded Rs 1 crore. They threatened to kill him if he failed to pay up.
The Mumbai police arrested Malhotra, Tanasha and John D’Souza from Delhi and brought them to Mumbai in August 2005. Rao was arrested later.
The court sentenced Malhotra to five-and-a-half years’ rigorous imprisonment. However, he would have to serve only six months as he has been in prison as an undertrial for five years. The court also convicted D’Souza, Dharmesh alias Nannu, Anil Barot alias Bhau, Bhaskar Bhandari and Jitendra Tiwary. The sentences they got were offset by the time they have served as undertrials.Other than Rao, the court also acquitted Kashi Pasi, Firoz Bashir Khan, Yusuf Bachkana and Shrikant Sonawane.
The Crime Branch had submitted 152 transcripts of phone conversations and produced 75 witnesses.
The MCOCA charges were dropped after the defence argued that the accused don’t belong to an organised crime syndicate and that from the recorded conversations a link between Malhotra and the other accused was not established. The defence also argued that though the five victims of extortion said Malhotra called them, none of the complainants could identify him.
On Friday, as the verdict was delivered, the police turned the court into a virtual fortress.
The road leading to the court was blocked and entry to the court was restricted. Nobody, other than lawyers and policemen, were allowed on the fifth floor where the courtroom was.