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Gawli gets reprieve from arrest

By Staff
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Mumbai, Apr 18 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today provide interim relief against arrest till Thursday to gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli by staying the application of MCOCA against him in an extortion and threat case.

Justice V M Kanade passed an oral interim order to this effect here and adjourned the matter till the next hearing on April 20, after defence lawyer B R Patil sought time to amend his client's petition.

Yesterday, Gawli had filed a plea challenging an offence registered against him under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on April 15. He had contended that the police had wrongly applied the provisions of MCOCA, which do not have any constitutional validity, against him.

Gawli claimed that first the police had registered a case against him of extortion and threatening a businessman, under the Indian Penal Code, but later altered the charges and converted the same case under the MCOCA, which was legally invalid as the mandatory provision before enactment of the stringent act was not completed.

He had prayed to the court that the same should be set aside and police be directed not to take further action, including his arrest till the plea was pending.

Gawli, a MLA from Chinchpokli constituency of Mumbai, was earlier granted anticipatory bail by Sessions Judge Abhay Thipse in the case.

However, later the State moved an application in the High Court challenging the Sessions Court's order with a prayer to cancel it, as the Session Judge had not taken cognisance of the material in the case and granted the anticipatory bail.

Following the State's appeal, the High Court had refused to cancel the don's bail, but referred the matter to Principal Judge with a direction to appoint a new judge to hear the matter afresh.

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