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HC defers verdict in Bharat Shah case
until March 3

February 24, 2003 15:34 IST

The Mumbai high court on Monday deferred until March 3 its verdict on the petitions filed by film financier Bharat Shah and two others challenging the provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, under which they have been booked for forging links with the underworld.

With the mutual consent of defence and prosecution, the trial in the alleged Bollywood-underworld nexus has also been deferred until the same date.

The trial had come to a halt as the prosecution had declared that it would not examine any witnesses until the court gave its ruling on constitutionality of MCOCA.

Justice V B Palshikar and Justice S A Bobade had reserved their order until Monday on the constitutional validity of MCOCA. They, however, deferred the verdict to March 3, when it came up for hearing.

Shah, facing the charge of forging links with the underworld to target film personalities for financial gains, prayed that the legislature had no powers to enact MCOCA because it was ultra vires for the Constitution.

He also urged that the act be struck out or the trial stayed in a special court.

Shah's counsel V R Manohar and Vibhav Krishna argued that the state was not competent to enact such an act, while government counsel Srihari Aney and Rohini Salian submitted that state had powers to frame the law and MCOCA had already received the President's assent.

The prosecution has already examined more than 60 witnesses and the trial is reaching its fag end.      

Two accused in other cases have also challenged the constitutional validity of MCOCA. They are Shamim Mirza Arif Beg and Sanjay Patil.

While Shamim is the alleged associate of Pakistan-based gangster Chhota Shakeel, the other accused is facing the charge of land-grabbing and extortion in Satara district.

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