Arun Gawli Gets Lifer for Shiv Sena Corporator's Murder

Arun Gawli Gets Lifer for Shiv Sena Corporator's Murder
Arun Gawli was today awarded life sentence by a MCOCA court for the contract killing of a Shiv Sena corporator five years ago, the first time the gangster- turned-politician who once challenged fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, has been handed down punishment in a criminal case.

"Instead of death (capital punishment) I am giving you life imprisonment," special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) judge Prithviraj Chavan said pronouncing the verdict against Gawli and 10 others for conspiracy and murder of Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar in 2007.

Another accused Sunil Ghate was awarded jail term of 10 years on the charge of being a member of the crime syndicate.

The court also imposed a cumulative fine of Rs 1.5 crore on the convicts, including Rs 18 lakh on Gawli, 40 per cent of which would go to Jamsandekar's wife Komal.

In the event of their failure to pay the fine, the convicts would have to serve varying periods of additional term in jail.

Judge Chavan also awarded Gawli 10 years imprisonment and fine of Rs five lakh each for being part of an organised crime syndicate under MCOCA and for extorting from builders and others. All sentences will run concurrently.

Gawli and others were pronounced guilty on August 24.

Jamsandekar was shot dead in March 2007 at his Asalpha residence in suburban Ghatkopar. Gawli was arrested on May 21, 2008 and has been in custody since then.

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 they had pleaded innocence. The trial in the case commenced in October 2010.

According to police, a Rs 30 lakh contract for Jamsandekar's killing was allegedly given to Gawli's gang by his rivals in construction business and local politics Sahebrao Bhintade and Bala Surve, who died during the trial.

Bhintade and Surve, according to the crime branch, were also eyeing a plot at Saki Naka in suburban Mumbai and Jamsandekar had reportedly "refused to cooperate".

During the arguments on quantum of sentence, Gawli had disputed prosecution's claim that he had killed the Sena corporator for a "paltry" sum of Rs 30 lakh.

"After 2007 BMC elections when Shiv Sena was not in majority it was our Akhil Bhartiya Sena who gave them support of four corporators (to attain majority). At that time each of our corporator was having very high monetary value and there was no reason for me to kill Jamsandekar for Rs 30 lakh," he had argued.

Public Prosecutor Raja Thakare, however, demanded capital punishment for Gawli, arguing that he was heading an organised crime syndicate and used Akhil Bhartiya Sena (ABS) as a political front for his "criminal activities".

"We will definitely go to the Bombay High court as we did not get justice from this court. We hope we will get justice in the high court," said Gawli's daughter Geeta, an Akhil Bhartiya Sena corporater.
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