New Delhi: Ten members of the Ravi Pujari gang were sentenced to five years in jail by a Mumbai court on Wednesday for conspiring to kill filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and his family members in 2014.
Judge Shridhar Bhosle of the special court for cases registered under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) held the 10 men guilty under section 120B of the IPC (criminal conspiracy) and relevant provisions of the Arms Act, while acquitting two others, Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said.
However, all the 12 accused were acquitted of the MCOCA charges. As many as 47 witnesses were examined during the trial, Gharat said. The Mumbai police had arrested the 12 members of the Pujari gang in 2014, before the plot to kill Bhatt could be executed.
Ishrat Sheikh, Mohammad Hasnat Khan, Azim Khan, Ashpak Sayyed, Asif Khan, Shahnawaz Sheikh, Firoz Sayyed, Shabir Sheikh, Rahim Khan and Anis Merchant were convicted for illegal possession of weapons under the Arms Act and for hatching the conspiracy.
Ravikesh Singh and Yusuf Kadri were acquitted.
Notorious gangster Ravi Pujari and another man were shown as absconding accused in the case, Gharat said.
According to the prosecution, Pujari, said to be living abroad, wanted to revive his gang in Mumbai by targeting Bhatt or his brother Mukesh, also a filmmaker, or Bhatt's son Rahul.