Gawli was yesterday convicted, along with 11 others, by a special MCOCA court for involvement in the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar over four years ago.
Jamsandekar was shot dead in March 2008 at his Asalpha residence at Ghatkopar. Gawli was arrested on May 21, 2008 and has been in custody since then. Apart from murder, Gawli was convicted of criminal conspiracy and the organised crime section of MCOCA, which attracts a sentence between five years to life, and a minimum fine of Rs 5 lakh.
The chargesheet said a sum of Rs 30 lakh was paid to the Gawli gang as supari. The trial had commenced in October 2010. One of the accused, Bala Surve, died even as court proceedings were on, while three others were acquitted for lack of evidence.
On October 7, 2010, the court had framed charges against Gawli and other accused under MCOCA, Sections 302 (murder), 34 (common intention) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. Gawli and the other accused had pleaded innocence.
According to police, the contract of killing Jamsandekar was given by accused Sahebrao Bhintade and Bala Surve, who were the victim’s rivals in the construction business and in local politics.
Crime Branch had said that the other reason why Jamsandekar was executed is that Bhintade and Surve were eyeing a plot at Saki Naka in suburban Mumbai and the deceased ‘refused to cooperate’ in parting with it.
According to the prosecution, Jamsandekar was killed at the behest of Gawli, who had, along with the co-accused, conspired to execute him.
Police figures say Gawli has 49 cases registered against him, most of them at Agripada.
Interestingly, there is one case at Shivaji Park, of extortion and housebreaking, in which he is currently shown as ‘wanted’. The arguments for the quantum of punishment are slated to commence on Monday at the sentencing hearing before a MCOCA Judge. Gawli has contended he is a family man and thus deserves a lighter sentence.