Mafia don discharged in Mumbai hospital shootout case

September 22nd, 2008 - 9:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 22 (IANS) In a setback to Mumbai Police, Brijesh Singh, a notorious gangster and absconder in the sensational J.J. Hospital shootout case of 1992, was discharged from the matter by a special court here Monday.He was among the several proclaimed offenders in the case in which three others, including gangster Subhash Singh Thakur, have already been convicted.

The designated Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) Court Special Judge D.U. Mulla allowed Singh’s discharge application, filed through his lawyer Harshad Ponda, on various grounds, including the lack of sufficient evidence produced against the accused by the prosecution.

Judge Mulla, in his discharge order, said the confessional statement of a co-accused could not be used against Singh as evidence since he was facing a separate trial in the matter.

In January this year, Delhi Police, along with the Orissa police, managed to nab Singh, one of the most dreaded mafia dons of Uttar Pradesh, from Bhubaneswar.

He had over 100 criminal cases lodged against him in various states and carried a reward of Rs.500,000. Later, Mumbai Police secured his custody to face trial in the hospital shootout case.

On Sep 12, 1992, a member of the Arun Gawli gang, Shailesh Haldankar, was killed by members of a rival gang led by absconding don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar at the J.J. Hospital in south Mumbai.

Haldankar was undergoing treatment when several people barged into the government-run hospital with 9mm pistols, .38 and .32 revolvers and AK-47 assault rifles.

The assailants fired more than 500 bullets during the shootout, killing their target Haldankar and two police constables, apart from injuring several more police personnel on duty.

The trial in the case started four years later with police producing a list of more than 30 accused in the case, including Brijesh Singh.

Of these, some died, others were discharged, and finally nine underwent trial, while 14, including Singh and Dawood, were declared absconders. Of those tried, three were slapped with life imprisonment and six acquitted.

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