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After 16 years, life convict Arun Gawli likely to walk free

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After 16 years, life convict Arun Gawli likely to walk free

Nagpur (Maharashtra), April 5 (Ajit Weekly News) In a politically significant development, the dreaded ex-mafia don-turned-politician Arun Gulab Gawli is expected to be freed prematurely from the life term he is undergoing in Nagpur Central Jail, as per a Bombay High Court order, here on Friday.

A division bench comprising Justice Vinay Joshi and Justice Vrushali Joshi has allowed a criminal application filed by Arun Gawli challenging the rejection of his previous plea claiming premature release given a government notification of January 10, 2006.

“Gawli’s application was rejected on grounds that the state government had come up with a fresh notification on December 1, 2015, by which a convict under the MCOCA Act was held entitled to the benefits of the policy decision,” his lawyer Mir Nagman Ali told Ajit Weekly News shortly afterwards.

After hearing both sides, the court directed the state to decide on Gawli’s release within four weeks from Friday, paving the way for his premature release from the jail where he has spent 16 years, said Adv. Ali.

The well-known criminal lawyer added that unless the state plans to appeal against the order, Gawli is likely to walk out of jail within a month (early May).

The state had registered Gawli’s petition on the ground that the 2015 notification specifically excludes the convict under MCOCA from the benefits of the policy.

It contended that even the 2006 notification makes it clear that convicts under stringent laws like the NDPS, TADA, MPDA, etc., are not entitled to the 2006 policy benefits, explained Adv. Ali.

Reacting to the development with political ramifications, Council for Protection of Rights (CPR) President Barrister Vinod Tiwari said that the government failed miserably to give advantage of its own GR to release senior citizen convicts languishing in jails in cases similar to Arun Gawli.

“However, considering the politically sensitive scenario at present, the Maharashtra government should ensure that for security reasons, Gawli is not set free at least till the Lok Sabha election results are declared,” cautioned Tiwari.

Originally based in Mumbai and dreaded as the don of Dagdi Chawl, Gawli, 69, served as an MLA (2004-2009), and is popularly known as ‘Daddy’ to one and all.

He was arrested in 2007 for the killing of a Shiv Sena leader Kamlakar Jamsandekar in March of that year, underwent a trial, was found guilty and convicted of life imprisonment in jail in 2012.

The 2006 GR stipulated that all senior citizen jailbirds, 65-plus and who have completed at least 14 years in jail shall be entitled to a premature release — and Gawli fulfils both the criteria, plus he is weak and infirm, Adv. Ali told the media later.

In Mumbai, Gawli’s family members said they are thrilled by the high court verdict and are preparing to welcome their paterfamilias ‘Daddy’ back home after a long absence.

“We are very delighted… All the people in and around Dagdi Chawl are also making celebration plans as soon as his arrival is known from our legal team,” his brother Pradeep Gawli told Ajit Weekly News.

At home in jail for around 16 years, Gawli had been granted parole-furloughs around 13-14 times when he came to spend time with his clan at his land-mark ‘mini-kingdom’ Dagdi Chawl, at Byculla, in a corner of south Mumbai.

The recent parole included his high-profile trip to attend the swansong Navratri (October 2023) festival hosted at Dagdi Chawl before it was vacated for demolition to make way for a swank new redeveloped housing project.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

–Ajit Weekly News

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News Credits – I A N S

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