Updated: April 1, 2021 5:06:06 am
AROUND TWO-AND-A-HALF months after he was discharged from an Arms Act case, NCP MLA Kandhal Jadeja has been acquitted in the 2018 case for threatening and abusing a hotelier of Porbandar, for want of evidence after key witnesses turned hostile. Along with the MLA, six others who faced trial in the case have also been acquitted.
The court of MR Zala, the chief judicial magistrate of Porbandar, acquitted Jadeja, the sitting NCP MLA from Kutiyana Assembly seat, and six others on March 15. The order was made available recently.
“The prosecution fails to prove beyond reasonable doubt its case that on the given date, time and place, the accused had formed illegal assembly with a common intent to abuse the complainant, that they had engaged in an act which had provoked breach of the public peace and cause inconvenience to others, that they had threatened to murder the complainant by acting in a league…” the magistrate noted in his judgment while acquitting the MLA and six others.
The others who have been let off by the court are Ram Khunti, Nurmohammed Makva, Nagabhai Parmar, Kuntesh Odedra, Ramesh Khunti, Sanjay alias Pyari Joshi.
This is the third relief to the NCP MLA in around as many months. In December last year, the Gujarat High Court had discharged Jadeja from a 1998 Arms Act case. A week after that, the district and sessions court of Porbandar had discharged him in a 1995 Arms Act case.
The MLA’s discharge from the 1995 Arms Act case had come around a year after the Supreme Court had ruled that TADA (Terrorism and Disruptive Activities Act) was not applicable in the matter. Jadeja is facing around a dozen other criminal cases.
According to the prosecution’s case, Jadeja had allegedly abused and threatened to kill Lilesh alias Lilabhai Odedra, the owner of Hotel Kavery International near Zaveri bungalow on MG Road in Porbandar, while Odedra was sitting outside the hotel with his son-in-law Mayank Sisodiya on November 7, 2018.
The complainant had stated that Jadeja and six others came in cars and pulled in front of the hotel where he and Sisodiya were sitting. The MLA, according to the prosecution’s case, asked Odedra to go near him and told the complainant that he was “roaming too much in Memanvada of late and exhibiting too much of an attitude. You are also acting at the behest of Abha Arjan”, and abused and threatened to kill him.
On the basis of Odedra’s complaint, Kamlabaug police had booked Jadeja and the six others under IPC Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 294 (b) (uttering obscene words in public place), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (2) (criminal intimidation).
Following the complaint, the MLA and his six aides were arrested in the case registered just a few months after the NCP leader was elected from Kutiyana seat one more time.
However, during the trial of the case, the complainant himself tuned hostile. “The complainant’s son-in-law also turned hostile and so did other eyewitnesses. The investigating officer had not sent CD containing video recording of the statements of the complainant and Sisodiya to the police, hence the court did not admit it as a piece of evidence. We argued that the case cannot rest merely on testimonies of police officers and sought acquittal of the accused. The court agreed with our submission and acquitted the MLA and others,” MG Singrakhiya, Jadeja’s advocate told The Indian Express on Wednesday.
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