The conviction of Arun Gawli, the ‘Daddy’ of the city and 10 others in the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar may be the final nail in the coffin for Gawli and his party the Akhil Bharatiya Sena. The special MCOCA court accepted Gawli as being the head of the political wing of an organised crime syndicate — the Akhil Bharatiya Sena.
In a significant 439-page judgment, Judge Prithviraj Chavan accepted the prosecution’s case that Gawli had established himself as the head of a crime syndicate operation from Dagdi Chawl, Byculla.
While reading out the judgment, Chavan said, “Arun Gawli prayed for leniency on the grounds that he is aged around 60 years, has children and an elderly mother who are his dependents. He urged that the period he has spent in jail during his trial is sufficient. But, I didn’t find any repentance on his face.”
The court also noted that the defence had not shown any evidence to substantiate their claims that Gawli had been implicated in the crimes, including the murder, in order to jeopardise his political career by rivals.
“Even during cross-examination, there was no suggestion provided to the witnesses specifically as to who was behind this entire exercise to falsely implicate Gawli. The defence therefore, appears to be improbable, unacceptable and unbelievable.” The court also looked adversely upon the fact that Gawli did not take to the witness box to substantiate claims that he was being falsely implicated.
In sentencing Gawli to life instead of death, Chavan relied on advocate Sudeep Pasbola’s argument that it was not the first time an elected representative had been shot, and nor was it the first time that such a murder was pre-meditated. “He also submits that despite death sentences, the crime rate has not gone down… Nothing has been brought on record to show that even after all these years criminal trials pending against [Gawli] had resulted in his conviction.”
The court also pointed out that Pasbola had mainly pointed out minor technical errors, which were inadequate to shake the case against Gawli.