SC grants interim bail to former gutkha baron JM Joshi

Feb 23, 2023 12:45 AM IST

Mumbai The Supreme Court of India on Monday granted interim bail to former gutkha baron Jagdishprasad Mohanlal Joshi (67)

Mumbai The Supreme Court of India on Monday granted interim bail to former gutkha baron Jagdishprasad Mohanlal Joshi (67). This comes about one-and-a-half months after a special MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment for helping fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar set up a gutkha manufacturing unit in Karachi.

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“Considering overall facts and circumstances of the case and in particular, the age of the appellant (Joshi) and various serious ailments from which he is suffering, we deem it fit to direct that the appellant shall be released on interim bail forthwith,” said the division bench of the apex court of justice Krishna Murari and justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah.

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The apex court has asked the designated MCOCA court to fix the conditions on which Joshi will be released on bail and also requested the Bombay high court to decide his plea for suspension of sentence in two weeks.

The special MCOCA court had on January 9, sentenced Joshi and two others — Farukh Mansuri (55) and Jamiruddin Ansari (54) — to 10 years imprisonment and imposed a fine of 5 lakh for helping set up a gutkha production plat in Karachi, Pakistan, for Dawood Ibrahim and his brother-in-law Abdul Antulay.

Challenging the verdict, Joshi had approached the Bombay high court. He had also moved a plea for suspension of the sentence and for his release on bail. His plea was, however, stuck in technicalities.

The chief justice of the high court had ordered that Joshi’s plea and appeal should be heard along with the petition of the CBI filed challenging the order of discharge of one of the accused in 2019. Accordingly, the plea was placed before the division bench concerned. The division bench, however, sent the plea back for chief justice’s consideration, stating that it should be heard by a single judge bench.

In the meanwhile, Joshi approached the apex court for urgent relief. While granting him interim bail, the apex court said, the application seeking suspension of sentence was liable to be considered expeditiously and the same cannot be allowed to be swung like a pendulum for hyper technical reasons.

The apex court has now asked the chief justice of the high court to decide as to which bench will hear the plea in two weeks. The bench concerned is directed to decide the plea of suspension of sentence within four weeks after it is placed before it for hearing.

The CBI had booked a total of nine accused in the case and shown Dawood, his brother Anees Ibrahim Kaskar, brother-in-law Abdul Antulay as wanted accused. During the trial, Rasiklal Manikchcand Dhariwal of Manikchad Gutkha died and hence, the case against him was abated. Another accused, Rajesh Panchariya, was discharged from the case.

As per the prosecution case, there was a monetary dispute between Joshi and co-accused Dhariwal, and the two had sought the help of Dawood Ibrahim to resolve the dispute and eventually ended up helping the gang set up gutkha manufacturing units in Karachi.

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