Stating that continuous unlawful activities are a menace to the society, the Bombay high court upheld the eight-year terms handed over to a gang of four robbers under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
On March 14, 2005, Navinchandra Bisht, Vijay Shreshta, Yusuf Ahmad Shaikh and Prem Sai had stolen cash, gold and other valuables collectively worth Rs17.5 lakh from Rajesh Rajani’s house in Mahim. In 2006, a designated MCOCA court had convicted the gang for armed robbery under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the MCOCA and also imposed a fine of Rs10 lakh on them.
Challenging the conviction under the MCOCA, their counsel BP Jakhade said that the appellants were petty thieves and not members of any organised crime syndicate. Discarding the contention, justice RC Chavan said that the earlier robberies committed by them could attracted a sentence of more than three years, which makes them liable to be booked under the MCOCA.
The court agreed with additional public prosecutor JP Kharge’s submission that despite their previous convictions, the appellants had committed the crime at Rajani’s residence, amounting to continuous unlawful activity.