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|October 5, 1998||
5 years' RI for 4 in Ramdas Nayak murder case
Four persons have been convicted and sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment by designated TADA court Judge S M Deshmukh in the Ramdas Nayak murder case.
Nayak, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and its city unit president, was gunned down near his home at Bandra in north-west Bombay by assailants of the Chhota Shakeel faction of the Karachi-based underworld kingpin Dawood Ibrahim, on August 25,1994.
While awarding five years rigorous imprisonment to the four accused, the judge acquitted six others in the case, as the prosecution could not prove its charges against them.
However, the prime accused in the case, Feroze Abdullah Sarhuru alias Feroze Kokani, recently escaped from police custody and is still at large. It was Kokani who sprayed bullets on Nayak from an AK-56 assault rifle, killing the BJP leader and his bodyguard on the spot. His case has been separated, as he is most-wanted on the police list.
The other accused who have been sentenced after four years of trial are, Rizwan Mohammed Ibrahim Syed, Shivraj Nisar Ahmed, Mohammed Feroze Ayub Khan and Rafiq Latif Sheikh. The judge has also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 on each of them, failing to pay which the jail term will be extended by another six months.
As the prosecution could not prove its charges, Judge Deshmukh acquitted Abdullah Abdul Rehman alias Hamza, Shafiq Latif Sheikh, Gurunam Singh alias Chottu Surjeet Singh, Salim Karim Dongarkar, Azim Khan alias Sardar Khan and Mohammad Mushtaq Husain. Among the four eye-witnesses in the murder case, an auto- rickshaw driver was given police protection during the trial period. A total of 57 witnesses appeared before the court.
On August 25, 1994, at about 10 am, when Nayak emerged from his home along with his bodyguard in an Ambassador car, Kokani and another accused fired indiscriminately on them from close range.
Later, the duo made their escape on a stolen motorbike and subsequently in an auto-rickshaw.
Kokani, who was also wanted for triggering off the riots in the city during December 1992-January 1993 after the Babri Masjid demolition, was picked up by the police at Bangalore.
However, the notorious criminal, who has kidney disease, escaped from the JJ Hospital in south Bombay, where he was being taken for treatment of his ailment.
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