Ten members of Ravi Pujari’s gang were sentenced to five years in jail by a court in Mumbai on Wednesday for conspiring to kill filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and his family members in 2014.
The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) convicted Ishrat Shaikh, 44, Mohmad Khan, 43, Aazim Khan, 22, Ashfak Sayyed, 28, Asif Khan, 31, Shahnawaz Shaikh, 39, Firoz Shayyed, 33, Shabbir Shaikh, 26, Rahim Khan, 46 and Mohmmad Anis Merchant, 38. The court has acquitted key accused Yusuf Kadri alias Yusuf Bachkana who was allegedly one of the conspirators.
They were held guilty under section 120B of the IPC (criminal conspiracy) and relevant provisions of the Arms Act.
The prosecution claimed that the conspiracy started with another member of the gang, Obaid Merchant’s dispute with filmmaker duo, Morani brothers. Obaid wanted overseas rights of the Bollywood film ‘Happy New Year’, which is produced by Morani Brothers. They decided to threaten the Moranis. It is claimed that members of Pujari’s gang had also opened fire on one of the brothers. The accused were arrested in November 2014 while they were preparing an attack near Bhatt’s residence in Khar.
According to Bhatt’s statement, Pujari had been planning his murder since 2006. He says he was open fired at the same year by the don’s men just outside his office. He started receiving death threats again in 2007, just when his daughter’s film Dhokahad released. Bhatt and his daughter were reportedly in their office when they received the threat on the telephone.