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3 of Lakdawala gang convicted, 2 acquitted in extortion case

A special MCOCA court convicted three members of the Ejaz Lakdawala gang and acquitted two others in connection with a 2011 extortion case against a builder.

“The court convicted three persons and sentenced them to ten years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs. 15 lakh on each,” public prosecutor Dileep Shah said.

According to the crime branch of Mumbai Police, in October 2011, two persons came near the builder’s office and fired three rounds at one of his staff members, out of which one bullet hit his leg.

The police later arrested five persons – Riyaz Sheikh, Nilesh Jatanna, Prashant Rao, Mohammed Madhwala and Zakaria Khan – of the Lakdawala gang.

The prosecution’s case was that Nilesh and Prashant had fired at the staff at the instance of Riyaz.

During the recording of the statement, the builder told police that he had received calls from Lakdawala demanding Rs 50 lakh protection money from him, which he had refused to give.

“We later invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA) after recording the builder’s supplementary statement,” said Shah.

Shah said a link was established between Riyaz and Lakdawala. Riyaz had also provided a motorcycle, a gun and rounds to the shooters.

The prosecution examined 36 witnesses to prove their case while accused Nilesh and Prashant had given confessional statement.

Special judge P R Deshmukh accepted the case and convicted Riyaz, Nilesh and Prashant. However, Mohammed and Zakaria were acquitted for lack of evidence.

“Our case was that Mohammed and Zakaria were sent to keep a check on the shooters but the court did not accept our evidence,” said Shah.

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