Bombay HC stays MCOCA investigation against gangster Sachin Pote, two others
Pune: The Bombay High Court (HC) has stayed the Pune police investigation into the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) case filed against gangster Sachin Pote. The court order came after Pote filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court, seeking quashing of the case lodged against him at Mundhwa police station in February 2021. Besides Pote, co-accused in the case, Ajay Shinde and Vishal Shelkar, have also petitioned the Bombay HC on similar grounds.
Justices NJ Jamadar and SS Shinde in their order stated, “The investigation in the CRN 79 of 2021 registered with Mundhwa police station, Pune, is hereby stayed, till the next date. Issue fresh notice to Vishal Satish Modi – the first informant in the respective petitions and application, returnable on September 9, 2021.The petitioners and the applicant are at liberty to serve the first informant, Vishal Satish Modi, by private service and file affidavit of service.”
The order further stated, “These connected petitions and the application arise out of peculiar facts. The incident in question, in respect of which, the first informant, Vishal Satish Modi, has lodged the report, allegedly occurred on the night intervening the 15th and 16th of June 2018. Evidently, the FIR has been lodged on the 4th of March 2021. There is a delay of more than 30 months.”
“What accentuates the situation is the fact that in respect of the very same occurrence, initially, Nilesh Chavan, who was allegedly fired at, had reported the matter to the police on the 16th June 2018 to the effect that there was an incident of altercation and fisticuffs and the police had recorded a non-cognisable case,” the order read.
“From a perusal of the FIR in question, it becomes evident that the incident allegedly occurred at the very same time and place. The FIR is not lodged by the person who was allegedly fired at. Nor is it the case that the police obtained the permission of the magistrate to investigate into a non-cognizable case which was registered on June 18, 2018. The situation which thus obtains is that not only is there a legal impediment for investigation into the said occurrence but there is an inordinate delay in lodging the FIR, in respect of the very same occurrence, by a person, who claims to be the partner of the hotel, where the incident occurred,” the order further said.
The court will hear the petitions and applications on September 9 this year.
Pote, through his lawyers - advocate Abad Ponda and advocate SM Nimbalkar, had filed a writ petition for quashing FIR number 79/2021 registered against him with Mundhwa police station, Pune, for offences punishable under sections 307, 392, 427, 323, 504, 143, 147, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code; 1860 (Penal Code); sections 3 and 27 of the Indian Arms Act, 1878; and section 37(1)(3) read along with 135 of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951, and the order whereby the approval under section 23(1)(a) of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA Act) has been granted by the additional commissioner (crime), Pune.
In the writ petition number 1641 of 2021, vide an order dated the 3rd of April 2021, the Bombay High court granted ad-interim relief in that no coercive action will be taken against Pote till the next date, on the condition that he extends full cooperation to the investigation which was directed to continue. The court order came after Pote filed a criminal writ petition in the high court, alleging that the Pune police had lodged a NC against him in June 2018 that was converted into a FIR, two years later.
Meanwhile, assistant public prosecutor JP Yagnik submitted that the report lodged by the first informant, Vishal Satish Modi, clearly reveals a cognizable offence and with regard to the antecedents of the petitioner and members of the organised crime syndicate - which the petitioners and the co-accused allegedly formed - the invocation of the provisions of the MCOCA Act could not be faulted.