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Court convicts Bharat Shah, two others

Vijay Singh in Mumbai | September 30, 2003 12:06 IST
Last Updated: September 30, 2003 14:59 IST

A Mumbai court on Tuesday convicted diamond merchant and film financier Bharat Shah for not disclosing to police producer Nasim Rizvi's links with the underworld.

Designated judge A P Bhangale found him guilty under section 118 of the Indian Penal Code, and not the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

Under section 118, Shah can get between three and seven years in prison He might get time to appeal in a higher court.

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Nasim Rizvi and his assistant Abdul Rahim Allahbaksh Khan were found guilty under MCOCA of forging links with the underworld to target film personalities for personal gains.

The judge acquitted co-accused and Dubai-based businessman Mohammed Shamshuddin alias Bhatija.

The court will decide on the quantum of punishment after hearing all parties on Wednesday.

Shah was arrested on January 8, 2001, under MCOCA and charged with threatening, with the help of the Karachi-based gangster Chhota Shakeel, actors to work in his film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke.

He was also charged with passing money to Mumbai's underworld dons via the hawala route.

The prosecution had argued that Shah used underworld money to finance his films.

In this respect it produced as evidence 30 audiotapes containing Shah's phone conversations with Shakeel.

The police also arrested Rizvi, who had produced Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, and Allahbaksh Khan.

The defence lawyers argued that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that the voice was that of Shah and the tape transcripts were not admissible as evidence since the interception procedure was legally not correct.

Shah's bail application was rejected more than seven times in lower courts and then by the Mumbai high court.

He approached the Supreme Court, which granted him bail.

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