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|July 24, 2000||
3 Chhota Rajan gangsters convicted for Datta Samant's murder
In one of the most violent trade union rivalry cases in legal history, a local court in Bombay today convicted three members of the Chhota Rajan gang on the charge of gunning down militant leader and MP Datta Samant in 1997.
Additional Sessions Judge M L Tahiliani, however, acquitted six others as the prosecution was unable to prove their alleged role in the conspiracy.
Arun Anandrao Londe, Vijay Ramchandra Thopte and Ganpat Bikhaji Bamne alias Bhau were convicted under various IPC provisions for the murder of the veteran trade union leader and causing grievous hurt to his driver Bhimrao Sonkamble.
The judge reserved his ruling until tomorrow on the quantum of sentence. Both prosecution and defence will submit their arguments tomorrow before the court gives its verdict.
The convicts were charged with IPC sections such as 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 144 (unlawful assembly), 147 (causing riots), 148 (causing riots with aid of arms) and 135 of Bombay Police Act (using unlicensed arms).
Among the accused who sought acquittal were Prakash Shankar Sawant, Raju Umakant Baje alias Raju Bedkya, Ramesh Ratan Patil, Sanjay Baban Devkar alias Holder and Ashok Vishnu Satardekar. Of them, Raju Baje was already in custody while the rest secured bail. Accordingly, Baje would be released.
Yet another accused, Bhagwatsingh Kunwarsingh Thakur alias Bharat Nepali, is absconding. He too has been acquitted because the conspiracy angle was not proved.
Samant was murdered in his car on January 16, 1997 in Powai area of north-east Bombay.
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