Gawli, 11 others sentenced to life

Gangster convicted in Sena corporator murder

Gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli and 11 of his henchmen were sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday for planning and executing the murder of a Shiv Sena corporator four years ago.

The special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA)court also imposed a fine of Rs 17 lakhs on Gawli and an additional 10-year imprisonment for being a part of organised crime syndicates and indulging in extortion.

The court had convicted all the 12 accused last week. Contrary to reports that this is the first conviction, Gawli, who had once challenged the might of fugitive gangster and smuggler Dawood Ibrahim, was convicted in 2006 in a 1982 murder case.

Gawli moved the higher court and managed to overturn the conviction; the case is awaiting a decision.

According to the charge sheet filed in the murder of Kamlakar Jamsandekar who was shot dead on March 2008, Gawli, who ruled the underworld from late eighties to nineties when he switched over to politics, had taken a contract from real estate sharks.

In 2010, the city police moved charges against Gawli and other accused under MCOCA and IPC sections ranging from murder to criminal conspiracy. Gawli and other accused pleaded innocence in the case; the public prosecutor, however, argued that Gawli had taken a contract of Rs 30 lakh to eliminate the corporator who was also in the construction business.

The prosecution stated that investigations had revealed that the contract was allegedly doled out by accused Sahebrao Bhintade and Bala Surve who were interested in grabbing a plot at the then upcoming small-scale industrial suburb Saki Naka.The Shiv Sena corporator who was himself interested in carrying out construction on the plot, “refused to co-operate,” and the fight over the plot later culminated in the murder. One of the builders, Surve, who was charged with offering the “killing contract,” expired during the trial.

Career of crime

Gawli till date has over 45 cases ranging from abduction, extortion, serious assault, attempt to commit murder and murder registered against him. He started his criminal career as a lackey to the Byculla Company gang led by Rama Naik, which at one point of time was the key ally of Dawood Ibrahim-led Konkani gang of smugglers.

A middle-rung hit-man and planner, Gawli took over the Byculla Company after Rama Naik was allegedly killed in a police encounter after the latter fell out with Dawood’s mob.

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