Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has confirmed the life imprisonment awarded to mafia don-turned-politician Arun G. Gawli under the stringent MCOCA by a Special Court in 2012, for the murder of a Shiv Sena municipal corporator, here on Monday.
A division bench comprising Justice B.P. Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi confirmed the sentence on Gawli — a former MLA, and some other associates involved in the crime.
Gawli’s lawyer, S. Patil later said that he would appeal against the high court verdict.
In a sensational operation, some assailants sent by Gawli had barged into the Ghatkopar home of the Sena corporator, Kamlakar Jamsandekar in March 2008 and shot him dead.
After two months, Gawli – who had taken the contract to kill Jamsandekar – was arrested and a Special Court awarded him a life sentence in 2012, which has now been confirmed by the Bombay High Court.
The mafia don has been imprisoned since his arrest, and after his conviction in 2012, he is currently lodged in Nagpur Central Jail.
Earlier, the Special MCOCA Court, while pronouncing the life sentence on Gawli, had slapped a fine of Rs 17 lakhs on him, and upon failure to pay, he would have to undergo another three years in jail.
The Special Court had also sentenced nine others to life terms except one Sunil Ghate, who was given three years imprisonment under the Arms Act.
The prosecution said that Gawli and 10 other accused had taken a contract of Rs 30 lakhs to eliminate Jamsandekar — who was victories in the 2007 BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation elections — over an alleged business rivalry with some local builders.
Gawli, along with the other co-accused was charged with hatching a conspiracy to kill Jamsandekar, who was reportedly unwilling to cooperate in the deal with the rivals, Sahebrao Bintade and Bala Surve.
On May 21, 2008, Gawli was arrested, in Oct 2010, charges were framed against him for murder, criminal conspiracy and other sections, to which he and other accused pleaded not guilty.
While the prosecution demanded the death penalty for Gawli, his lawyers contended that he was being targeted in a political vendetta for his activities as the President of Akhil Bharatiya Sena (ABS) outfit.
In 2004, Gawli – revered as ‘Daddy’ among his local followers – became a legislator, but was arrested in May 2008 in the Jamsandekar murder case and has since been in jail.