10 sensational cases to watch out for in 2017

Updated: Jan 03, 2017, 11:38 IST | Team mid-day |

mid-day gives you a lowdown on 10 sensational cases that have rocked Mumbai over the past few years, all still being heard in courts. Here are some that could see verdicts in the new year

Jiah Khan death case
Bollywood actress Jiah Khan (25) was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her Juhu residence late on June 3, 2013, in a case of apparent suicide; the police later recovered a suicide note purportedly penned by her.

Jiah’s mother Rabia said Sooraj Pancholi, son of actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, had been dating her daughter. Rabia requested a probe into the death, alleging it was not suicide. She moved HC, submitting reports by independent experts to support her contention that Jiah was killed.

In December 2015, the Mumbai Police filed a 447-page chargesheet. On June 10, 2013, the police had arrested Sooraj and booked him for abetment to suicide on the basis of the letter. On July 1, 2013, the Bombay High Court had granted him bail.

The sessions court trial is currently stayed by the HC, which is hearing Rabia’s petition.

1993 Mumbai blasts
On March 12, 1993, the city was rocked by 13 explosions in different spots — the Bombay Stock Exchange building, the Fisherman’s Colony in Mahim Causeway, Zaveri Bazaar, Plaza Cinema, Century Bazaar, Katha Bazaar, Hotel Sea Rock, the Air India building, Hotel Juhu Centaur, Worli and the Passport Office — which killed 257 people and injured 700. TADA court of judge PD Kode concluded the trial against the original 123 accused, convicting 100 of them.

Accused Mustafa Dossa outside Arthur Road Jail. File pic
Accused Mustafa Dossa outside Arthur Road Jail. File pic

The same special court presided over by judge GA Sanap is hearing the arguments of the last accused, Mustafa Dossa. The judge has heard arguments of the other six accused — Abu Salem, Firoz Khan, Tahir Merchant, Riyaz Siddiqui, Karimullah Shaikh and Abdul Qayoom — in a separate trial as they were arrested late. Judgment in the case is expected in mid-2017.

Gadkar drink-driving case
On June 10, 2015, lawyer Janhavi Gadkar (32), a Chembur resident and a legal adviser for a company, was arrested for allegedly driving her car on the wrong side of Eastern Freeway, killing two people — taxi driver Mohammad Sayyad (57) and his passenger Salim Sabuwala (50) — and injuring four others — Hafiza Sabuwala (45) and her children Salma (24), Sadiya (22) and Nouman.

Janhavi Gadkar with her mother at the sessions court. File pic
Janhavi Gadkar with her mother at the sessions court. File pic

Gadkar, whose office was at Nariman Point, had gone to Marine Plaza hotel with colleague Rahul Dutt (38), where she had three large whiskeys. She then drove to Irish House, Kala Ghoda, where she met another colleague, Alok Agarwal (57), CFO of Reliance Industries, and downed two mugs of beer. She left from Irish House at 12.40 am, according to Agarwal’s statement, meeting with the accident soon after.

The sessions court granted her bail on August 5, 2015. On August 10, a 560-page chargesheet was filed at the Kurla magistrate’s court. At the moment, charges are being framed against Gadkar.

J Dey murder case
The editor (investigations) at mid-day was shot dead in Powai on June 11, 2011, when he was on his way home on his bike. That December, the police filed a 3,055-page chargesheet against 10 accused. A supplementary chargesheet, running into 120-odd pages, against accused Jigna Vora was filed in June 2012.

According to the chargesheet, Vora had helped provide details for Dey’s identification to the gang, making her an active member of the conspiracy. Among the other accused are Anil Waghmode, Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaikwad, Nilesh Shendge, Mangesh Agawane, who had followed Dey, and Satish Kaliya, who had shot him.

Asrani had pointed out Dey to Kaliya at a Mulund bar. Deepak Sisodia had given weapons and bullets to the shooters and Paulson Joseph had given them global SIM cards and Rs 2 lakh cash to execute the kill. All the accused were booked for causing disappearance of evidence as they had destroyed the SIM cards.

The chargesheet said the accused were members of an organised crime syndicate run by Chhota Rajan, who was held in Bali on October 26. He is in Tihar jail.

A chargesheet was filed in 2016 against Rajan. Around 15 witnesses are being examined, including Dey’s wife and his father-in-law. The witnesses will continue to depose in 2017.

Sheena Bora murder case
In one of the most sensational murders of 2015, Indrani Mukerjea, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyamvar Rai were arrested for killing her daughter Sheena Bora (24) in 2012. The crime came to light when Rai was arrested on August 21, following the seizure of a 7.63-bore pistol from him. He then confessed to the police about the crime. On August 25, Indrani was arrested, and the next day, Khanna.

On September 19, the case was handed over to the CBI. On November 19, the CBI arrested ex-TV executive Peter Mukerjea and filed chargesheets against Indrani, Khanna and Rai. The court is now hearing the arguments on the point of charges. Framing of charges is expected soon.

Socialite Bhagat and bizman Shroff’s saga
The Poonam Bhagat and Jaidev Shroff case is one that has been getting complicated day by day. Bhagat filed for divorce from Shroff, director of United Phosphorous Limited, a R2,000 crore company, in October 2015. She has been demanding the 7,000-sqft house in Pali Hill on the ground that Shroff hardly stays in India. Shroff has claimed that he has already given her a flat in Summer Palace, Bandra, because the Pali Hill house is owned by his company.

Things got murkier after Bhagat filed a theft case against Shroff, saying he stole her valuables, while he filed a case against her, alleging that she poisoned him with the help of a Bengali Baba. Adding to this, the Khar police made some blunders while investigating the poisoning case, inviting HC’s ire.

Syedna succession row
The battle for Bohra community leader Syedna is likely to continue in the Bombay High Court before justice KR Shriram. After the death of the 52nd Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, his half brother Khuzaima Qutbuddin and son Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin (in pic) were in a legal battle over the title, but Qutbuddin died this year.

Qutbuddin had claimed that he was the 53rd Syedna Dai-al-Mutlaq (community leader), as his brother had in public declared him mazoon (second in command). Now, Qutbuddin’s son Shehzada Taher has challenged the matter in the high court.

Rhea Pillai, Leander Paes’s bitter battle
Tennis superstar Leander Paes is locked in a long and bitter dispute with his live-in partner Rhea Pillai, which also involves the custody of their 10-year-old daughter.

Pillai has been demanding a Rs 4 lakh monthly maintenance from Paes, which he has been denying, saying he was never married to her. The Bandra magistrate court had ruled in Pillai’s favour, saying that the Domestic Violence Act was applicable in the case, but sessions court, which Paes moved, challenging the Bandra court order, said the matter needs a re-look.

Pillai has approached the HC, challenging the sessions court order; her petition has been admitted by justice Anant Badar.

Murders of Hema Upadhaya, her lawyer
In a gruesome case of double murder, renowned artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambani were found dead in Kandivli. Bodies of the duo were discovered inside a drain in cardboard boxes in December 2015.

The police arrested Hema’s husband Chintan as well as Shivkumar Rajbhar, Pradeep Rajbhar and Vijay Rajbhar, who allegedly executed the murders.

Currently, the prosecution has submitted the draft charges to the defence; framing of charges is expected soon. Also, witnesses will depose in court in 2017. After the sessions court rejected his bail application, Chintan has moved HC.

Meanwhile, in the high court...

Thackeray brother feud
The Thackeray brothers’ feud over the will of late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray is on in the Bombay High Court. Jayadev Thackeray, elder brother of Sena executive president Uddhav, made some revelations, when he said that Aishwarya, who was thought to be his son, wasn’t. Justice Gautam Patel had carried out the rest of Jayadev’s cross-examination in-camera later. The feud on Thackeray’s will is likely to continue this year.

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