Bombay HC grants bail to accused in MCOCA case for extortion bid on former minister, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

PUNE: The Bombay high court has granted bail to Tatyasaheb Laxman Karande, one of the five accused in an organised crime case arising from a multi-crore rupees extortion attempt on former state dairy development minister Mahadev Jankar in May 2019.

The bench of Justice Prakash D Naik referred to a recent Supreme Court ruling in Mohammad Iliyas Mohammad Bilal Kapadia versus the state of Gujarat, which held that for invoking provisions of an organised crime enactment, the court should be of the view that the conditions stipulated in such enactment are fulfilled.

While the ruling was inrelation to the application of the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act, 2015, the Baramati city police, in the instant case, have invoked the provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the extortion case.

The HC observed, “The applicant (Karande) is not involved in any other case along with gang leader nor there is any material to show that he was actively involved with gang leader in any act of the gang or syndicate. Role attributed to applicant is that he was with accused no 1 whenever threats were issued. ”

Karande’s lawyer, Satyam Nimbalkar, had argued, among other things, that there was no evidence to invoke the provisions of the MCOCA against the applicant. Ne-ither the applicant had any criminal antecedents nor was he part of any crime syndicate. The MCOCA requirement is that there should be more than two or more chargesheets against the accused, Nimbalkar had contended and pointed out that the applicant was in custody since May 10, 2019. Apart from MCOCA, the police also invoked section 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code, among other charges. Nimbalkar contested this by arguing that at the most an offence under section 384 (extortion), which is punishable with three years in jail as against 10 years in case of section 386, could be made out.

The HC referred to the arguments by either side and observed, “There is no evidence on record to show that applicant at any point of time made any demand. . . . . . . Prima facie applicability of Section 386 IPC in the facts of present case is doubtful. Chargesheet is filed. The applicant was not involved in any other case in the past. ”

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