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Ten convicted for conspiracy to kill filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, sentenced to 5 years in jail

The convicted were sentenced to five years in jail by the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Wednesday.

mumbai Updated: Apr 26, 2018 09:23 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times
mumbai,mahesh bhatt,ravi pujari
Bhatt had in his deposition said Pujari had been threatening him since 2006, when his men first opened fire outside his office.(HT photo)

The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Wednesday convicted 10 people who were booked for conspiring to kill filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.

The accused, who have been sentenced to five years imprisonment, were members of gangster Ravi Pujari’s gang and had planned the attack on the instructions of Pujari, alleged the prosecution. However, the court held that the charge of the accused being part of Pujari’s organised crime syndicate has not been established by the prosecution. Hence, they were acquitted from charges of the MCOCA.

The 10 accused are Ishrat Shaikh, 44, Mohmad Khan, 43, Aazim Khan, 22, Ashfak Sayyed, 28, Asif Khan, 31, Shahnawaz Shaikh, 39, Firoz Shayyed, 33, Shabbir Shaikh, 26, Rahim Khan, 46 and Mohmmad Anis Merchant, 38. The court has acquitted key accused Yusuf Kadri alias Yusuf Bachkana who was allegedly one of the conspirators.

The prosecution claimed that the conspiracy started with another member of the gang, Obaid Merchant’s dispute with filmmaker duo, Morani brothers. Obaid wanted overseas rights of the Bollywood film ‘Happy New Year’, which is produced by Morani Brothers. They decided to threaten the Moranis. It is claimed that members of Pujari’s gang had also opened fire on one of the brothers. The accused were arrested in November 2014 while they were preparing an attack near Bhatt’s residence in Khar.

Bhatt had in his deposition said Pujari had been threatening him since 2006, when his men first opened fire outside his office. He had said after that he received threats in 2007. “In 2007, my daughter’s movie Dhoka was released. The call was received by me and my daughter in my office…Ravi Pujari threatened us,” Bhatt deposed. He said Pujari threatened to kill him for attending an event in Bangalore in 2008.

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 00:50 IST