Mumbai: Gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli and 11 others were on Friday awarded life imprisonment by the MCOCA court for involvement in the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar four years back. It is for the first time that a high-profile gang leader has been convicted in a case.
Special MCOCA judge Prithivaraj Chavan also imposed a fine of Rs 17 lakhs on Gawli, failing which he will have to undergo an additional three-year imprisonment.
The court also sent Gawli to ten-year imprisonment each for being a member of the organised crime syndicate and extortion.
While pronouncing the sentence, judge Chavan said "Instead of death I am giving you life imprisonment."
Apart from Gawli, 11 others have been found guilty of hatching a conspiracy (to kill Jamsandekar). Apart from Sunil Ghate, who was sentenced to three years in prison, the other 10 have been given life sentence by the court.
Jamsandekar was shot dead in March 2008 at his Asalpha residence in suburban Ghatkopar. Gawli was arrested on May 21, 2008 and has been in custody since then.
The charge sheet said that a sum of Rs30 lakh was paid to the Gawli gang for the job. The trial had commenced from October 2010.
During the previous hearing, Judge Chavan said in the open court that it had been proved that Gawli was a member of organised crime syndicate and was engaged in extortion.
Mumbai Police had sought death penalty for the gangster as the crime was carried out in cold blood by an organised crime syndicate.
As many as 49 cases, including the murder case, were registered against Gawli in the city, police said, adding that some of the trials were still pending.
On October 7, 2010, the court had framed charges against Gawli and other accused under MCOCA, sections 302 (Murder), 34 (common intention) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, while Gawli and others had pleaded innocence.
According to police, the contract of killing Jamsandekar was allegedly given by accused Sahebrao Bhintade and Bala Surve, who were reportedly his (Jamsandekar`s) rivals in construction business and the local politics.
The crime branch had said that the other reason why Jamsandekar was executed was that Bhintade and Surve were eyeing a plot of land at Saki Naka in suburban Mumbai and Jamsandekar had reportedly "refused to cooperate".