A special MCOCA court on Friday acquitted Mohammad Ali, known as 'diesel don', of the charge of murdering his alleged rival, Sayyed Chand Madar.
Besides Ali, special MCOCA judge AL Pansare acquitted seven other accused - excluding Ali's close aide, Abdul Rashid Ahmed Shaikh who died during trial - from charges under MCOCA. Two of the accused, Shahid Jinat Shah and Samad Ismail Deshmukh alias Salim, have, however, been convicted for possessing illegal arms.
The Mumbai crime branch alleged Ali and Madar were rivals, as both were involved in smuggling diesel from the high seas and illegal scrap material in the dock area. Madar's murder was the result of a fallout between the two alleged rivals, who sought supremacy over the diesel smuggling business.
Chand was shot at opposite Manama Hotel, near General Post Office on September 15, 2010. The crime branch alleged Ali, who was arrested on September 21, 2010, had hatched a conspiracy to kill Madar with the aid of gangster Chhota Shakeel. The prosecution relied on confessional statements of two accused - Akhtar Shaikh and Mujib Shaikh - and the evidence of two eyewitnesses - Chand's driver Riyaz Ali Mulla and one of his aides.
Ali's lawyer, advocate Taraq Sayyed, said the evidence produced did not corroborate the prosecution's case. Sayyed and advocates Prakash Shetty and Sameer Pradhan, who represented the other accused, said the eyewitnesses would not have been able to see the assailants as they immediately fled from the scene. Pradhan said the prosecution failed to establish Shakeel's connection with the case, while Shetty said it failed to produce evidence to connect the circumstances of the case.
Sayyed said although the prosecution had alleged Madar was killed because of professional rivalry, it failed to establish how Ali and Madar were business rivals.
Advocate Sudeep Pasbola, who represented the two accused who had purportedly confessed to their crime, argued they were forced to give confessions and therefore, they had retracted the same after being released from police custody.
Accused acquitted under MCOCA:
Mohammad Ali Abu Bakar Shaikh
Mujib Abdul Majid Shaikh
Shahid Jinat Shah
Mohammad Sagir Ahmed Riyasat Husain Ansari
Abdul Rehman Sultan Shah alias Lala
Shanawaj Anwar Shaikh alias Babu
Akhtar Allaharakha Shaikh
Samad Ismail Deshmukh
Accused who have been convicted
Shahid Jinat Shah and Samad Ismail Deshmukh alias Salim have been convicted under the Arms Act
The police had recovered gun and bullets from their possession
The duo was sentenced for the period, which they have already spent in jail
How Madar was murdered:
Sayyed Chand Madar was shot in the head opposite Manama Hotel, near GPO on September 15, 2010. The accused and his accomplice then fled on a motorcycle. Madar died at Bombay Hospital the next day.
Allegations against Ali:
* The accused, Mohammad Ali, had hatched a conspiracy to kill Sayyed Chand Madar to gain supremacy over the oil smuggling activities on the high seas in Mumbai
* According to the prosecution, Ali had sought gangster Chhota Shakeel’s help to kill Madar
* The prosecution alleged Ali had paid the assailants and also provided them shelter after the incident
* It also alleged that after the conspiracy was hatched, another accused, Akhtar Allaharakha Shaikh, had kept a watch on Madar’s movements to inform the accused, while another accused Abdul Rashid Ahmed Shaikh, a close aid of Ali, had supplied weapons to the assailants to kill Madar