In a setback for the crime branch, a designated MCOCA court has discharged builder Arun Patil, accused of being a key member of an extortion racket run by Chhota Rajan and his associate in Mumbai.
The crime branch had booked several builders, including Patil, under MCOCA alleging that they had links with the underworld. Crime branch sources said that the money collected through extortion by the gangsters was invested in construction.
A special MCOCA judge GT Kadri discharged Patil, who was booked for being a member of the organised crime syndicate, for lack of evidence. The court observed that there was no evidence to show that he accepted the extortion amount.
Patil, an engineer turned builder and partner with Aditya Builders, was booked by the crime branch in 2007 alleging that he was part of the gang run by Rajan. The prosecution alleged that the members of the gang had forced the developers and committee members of the societies of buildings under reconstruction to favour Patil’s firm.
The crime branch had, on the basis of the statement of the developer and committee members of the societies, registered a case of extortion under MCOCA against Rajan, his wife Sujata Nikhalje and Patil along with other accused.
The prosecution alleged that Rajan and Bharat Nepali through their members used to extort money from people and gave it to the builders, including Patil. It was alleged that the gangsters threatened the locals with harm to get them to hand over the construction contract to the firm in which Patil was a partner.
Patil, however, in his discharge application contended that he has no links with the underworld. “There is no evidence to show that he had contacted Rajan or members of his gang or threatened anyone to hand over the project,” Patil said in his discharge plea.
The court observed, “the prosecution has no evidence to establish links of the accused Arun Patil with the organised crime syndicate”.