10 convicted, given 5-years-jail-term for planning to kill Mahesh Bhatt
The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), on Wednesday, sentenced 10 men to five years prison and acquitted two others, for conspiring to kill filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt. The accused were found guilty under various sections of the IPC including criminal conspiracy and abetment to a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death, and a number of sections of the Arms Act.
Acquitted under charges of MCOCA
Although it was MCOCA court that pronounced the verdict, the prosecution failed to support its claim that the accused were members of the Ravi Pujari gang. Hence the court acquitted them on MCOCA charges but found evidence against them for criminal conspiracy. The 10 accused were arrested in November 2014, as they were preparing for an attack near Mahesh Bhatt's residence in Khar.
Who are the accused?
The 10 accused are Ishrat Shaikh, Mohmad Khan, Aazim Khan, Ashfak Sayyed, Asif Khan, Shahnawaz Shaikh, Firoz Shayyed, Shabbir Shaikh, Rahim Khan, and Mohmmad Anis Merchant. One of the conspirators Yusuf Kadri alias Yusuf Bachkana was acquitted by the court.
Accused planned attack at Mahesh Bhatt's residence
The filmmaker alleged Pujari was threatening him since 2006. He said Pujari's men opened fire outside his office the same year. "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 said in his deposition. Bhatt also said Pujari warned him against attending a Bangalore event in 2008.