After discharging extradited gangster Abu Salem in the Ajit Dewani murder case,a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Friday acquitted six other accused in the case.
Dewani,actress Manisha Koiralas secretary,was shot dead in his suburban Andheri office in 2001.
The acquittal was pronounced after the prosecution failed to prove its case against the accused.
The six accused Upendra Singh,Deepal Singh,Shah Alam,Nizamuddin Rauf,Ayub Patel and Akhilesh Singh were accused of murdering Dewani at the behest of extradited gangster Abu Salem,who was also an accused in the case. However,when Salem was discharged,the case against the six accused fell apart as the police had no direct evidence to establish their link in the murder. The court,while delivering the judgment,observed that the investigation did not have any direct lead pointing to the accused.
Salem was discharged in the case last year by the court as his extradition treaty did not mention this case and thus he could not be charged in the case.
Special MCOCA Judge R G Avachat stated in the order that while the alleged main conspirator,Salem,was already discharged,case cannot be proved against other accused.
Our clients have spent years in the jail even when the police could not collect any evidence against them. While prosecution claimed that they had murdered Dewani and escaped in a car provided by Nizamuddin,prosecution could not bring in even a single eyewitness in the case, said advocate Saba. According to the prosecution,the murder was carried out allegedly on instructions of Salem after Dewani failed to pay extortion money. Upendra and Deepak had allegedly barged into Dewanis office in suburban Andheri and shot him.
All the accused were booked under various sections of MCOCA,Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Arms Act and have been in custody since their arrest in 2002.