MCOCA may be applied on Arun Gawli: Maria

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Mumbai, Apr 21 (UNI) The city police may apply Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on gangster-turned- politician and MLA from Chinchpokli from central Mumbai, Arun Gawli for his involvement in an extortion case and are seeking expert legal opinion on the matter, Joint Commissioner (crime) Rakesh Maria said today.

Speaking to reporters here after Gawli's arrest, Mr Maria said police have adequate evidence against him for his involvement in the crime, where he and his henchmen had tried to extort Rs 25 lakh from a city-based builder.

''Gawli and his henchmen have extorted money from the builder from October 2005 to May 2006. Initially, they had demanded Rs 50 lakh from him, which was later reduced,'' he said.

Mr Maria said the builder was called to Dagdi Chawl on phone allegedly by Gawli's henchmen and demanded Rs 50 lakh from him as protection money, which was paid to Gawli's henchmen in instalments by the builder.

''Gawli was fully aware of his cronies act and he himself was present at many of the meetings. The amount was finalised by him,'' the joint commissioner said.

Their demand for money stopped for some time, but later re-started when the builder was involved in a slum rehabilitation project (SRA) at Dadar in Central Mumbai.

This time, the builder approached the police, who laid a trap and arrested two of Gawli's men red-handed with money and arms on March 25 this year. Next day, Arun's brother Vijay Gawli was arrested after he was named by the duo during interrogation.

''Gawli has received some part of the money. As we wanted to have a watertight case against him, we collected the evidence after the duo's arrest and today we have arrested him,'' said Mr Maria.

Gawli has been arrested under section 120 B (criminal intimidation and for conspiring the whole plan to extort money) of Indian Penal Code. He was remanded to police custody till May 2, by the lower court where he was produced earlier in the day.


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