SC reserves judgement on appeal challenging Bharat Shah's acquittal

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New Delhi, Apr 23 (UNI) The Supreme Court today reserved its judgement on an appeal by the state of Maharashtra challenging the acquittal of Hindi film producer and financier Bharat Shah in a case under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act(MCOCA).

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and M K Sharma reserved the verdict after the arguments were concluded in the case.

Shah was prosecuted for having underworld links with the members of the gangs of Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel and also for running an extortion racket.

Many Bollywood stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Preity Zinta were allegedly threatened by Shah. Only Preity Zinta supported the prosecution case in the court while others turned hostile.

The main contention of Bharat Shah before the High Court was that state government can not tap his telephone without the prior permission of the Central government as Indian Telegraph Act is a central legislation, state legislature is not competent to order tapping of the telephone and only Parliament can do it.

Bombay High Court accepted the contention of Bharat Shah and allowed his appeal against his conviction by a MCOCA court.

The Hindi movie 'Chori Chori Chupke Chupke' produced by Bharat Shah was also alleged to have been produced with the money of the underworld.The State government, however, contended that there was nothing wrong in tapping the telephone of a person who is suspected to be involved in illegal and criminal activities as surveillance is integral part of criminal investigation by the police.

Shah had to remain in jail for 15 months.

UNI SC SV RP GC1837

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