Former underworld don Arun Gawli, who was convicted for the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar, has said he will appeal against the order.
On Tuesday, a special MCOCA court said it will decide on the quantum of sentence on Friday.
Defence advocate Sudeep Pasbola refuted the prosecution’s charges that Gawli was running an organised crime syndicate, and was the leader of an underworld gang. “Gawli has not been convicted in a single case and the prosecution has not been able to establish that he is a don,” said Pasbola.
While entering the court premises, Gawli told media persons that if the two police officers who caught him had a conscience, his innocence would be revealed. “I have left everything to God now. I will appeal against the order,” said Gawli.
In court, Pasbola argued against the prosecution’s appeal for capital punishment. “This is not a brutal murder or a heinous crime. Jamsandekar was killed because of political rivalry,” said Pasbola. “It is not the rarest of cases in which the prosecution can demand the death penalty,” he said.
When the court asked Gawli for his view on the charges against him, including the fact that the prosecution was seeking the death sentence, the gangster was categorical in denying all charges. “Why would I accept a contract to kill some Shiv Sena corporator for Rs30 lakh, when I could have fetched crores by supporting Shiv Sena in the BMC elections? I did not do that. My party had extended support to the Sena, which helped them regain power in the civic body,” said Gawli.
To the prosecution’s allegation that he had been running an organised crime syndicate, Gawli said, “The police have charged me in one case after the other. I have spent most of my time behind bars. How then could I run a criminal syndicate, or even commit a crime?”