MUMBAI: A special trial court on Monday convicted and sentenced extradited gangster Chhota Rajan to two years’ imprisonment in connection with a 2015 extortion case for an offence under Indian Penal Code (IPC), but acquitted him under the more stringent law against organized crime. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on Rajan.
Rajan was charged with threatening a Panvel-based builder, Nandu Vajekar, and demanding Rs 26 crore as extortion money.
Along with Rajan, the court also convicted the three co-accused in the case—Suresh Shinde, Ashok Nikam and Sumit Mhatra—and sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment too.
The special judge convicted all accused for offences under IPC sections 385 (extortion with threat to cause injury) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), but acquitted them for offences under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Section 385 stipulates a punishment of two years’ imprisonment or fine or both to anyone found guilty of putting a person in fear of any injury in order to commit extortion. Rajan’s defence counsel Sudeep Pasbola had submitted that no case made out against him under the more graver extortion charge under section 387 IPC (putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt in order to commit extortion) which attracts up to seven years’ RI and hence, MCOCA is not applicable in the case.
The prosecution case argued by special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat was that the builder in 2015 bought land in Pune and decided to pay a commission of Rs 2 crore to an agent, Parmanand Thakkar, who is wanted in the case. When Thakkar allegedly demanded more money and the builder said he was unable to pay, the former is alleged to have approached Rajan.
The prosecution said that Rajan then sent his men to the builder’s office and threatened him with dire consequences unless he paid Rs 26 crore. The builder fearing for his life lodged a complaint with Panvel police, said the prosecutor.
Police had produced CCTV footage of the builder’s officer as evidence in the case.