In a set back to the state government the Supreme Court has said that stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MOCCA) is not applicable to the alleged killers of matka king Suresh Bhagat.
Bhagat was killed along with six others at Alibaug, near Mumbai, on June 13, 2008, when a truck rammed into his SUV. Bhagat’s estranged wife Jaya Chheda, son Hitesh and six others are in judicial custody for their alleged role in his killing.
A division bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Anil Dave dismissed the special leave petition (SLP) filed by the state challenging the Bombay High Court’s order.
The SC dismissed the SLP saying it did not wish to interfere with the high court’s order and the trial court which had opined that MCOCA was not applicable in the case.
Public prosecutor Sanjay Kharde said the state had challenged the high court’s order, which had upheld that MCOCA is not applicable in the case. “We had argued that MCOCA was applicable in the case,” said Kharde.
On April 24, 2009, special MCOCA judge R.G. Awachat dropped MCOCA charges against all the eight accused including Bhagat’s wife and his son after observing that the stringent Act was not applicable.
The government then approached the high court challenging the order of the special court. On January 8, the high court while dismissing the appeal observed that the basic requirements of invoking MCOCA in the case were not satisfied.
“Ingredients for laying a charge sheet for offence punishable under MCOCA — pendency of charge sheet where accused or any of his gang members is charged for offence punishable with three years or more imprisonment and committed any pecuniary benefits, economic gains or other advantages — is not satisfied,” observed the high court.