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NEARLY THREE months after his arrest, Manish Bhangale, the “ethical hacker” who had allegedly used forged documents to show that former Maharashtra Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse had communicated with fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim, was released on bail by the sessions court on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the police had filed a nearly 700-page chargesheet against Bhangale in which they charged him for making allegations against Khadse for publicity.
An officer linked to the probe said: “A city sessions court granted him bail on Wednesday. There are several conditions laid down by the court for granting him bail.”
Ever since his arrest on March 31, Bhangale had been lodged in Arthur Road jail.
In the chargesheet filed by the cyber police station earlier this month, the police have added Sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 465 (forgery), 469 (forgery for the purpose of harming reputation) and 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code to
sections of the IPC and the Information Technology Act that he had already been booked under.
In May last year, at a press conference held by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bhangale had alleged that he had phone bills to prove that Khadse had spoken on a landline registered in the name of Dawood’s wife, Mehjabeen.
Bhangale had claimed that he had procured the list of call details from the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) by impersonating Mehjabeen and sought phone usage details from September 5, 2015 to April 6,2016.
The police, after checking phone records, had denied that Khadse had made or received any such calls. The cyber police station was then asked to probe the allegations.
Based on initial investigation, the cyber police concluded that the documents produced by Bhangale were fake. Bhangale was arrested on March 31 for further interrogation.