Bombay High Court orders premature release of gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli

The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court on April 5 gave a nod for a premature release of former mafia and gangster turned politician, Arun Gulab Gawli. Mr. Gawli is serving life imprisonment in Nagpur Central Jail. 

A division Bench of judges comprising Justice Vinay Joshi and Justice Vrushali Joshi have allowed the criminal re-petition filed by Mr. Gawli challenging rejection of his claim to be released prematurely in view of government notification dated January 10, 2006.  

“The application preferred by Arun Gulab Gawli was rejected by the respondents on the count that the State government had come up with a fresh notification dated December 1, 2015, by which a convict under the MCOCA act was held entitled to the benefit of said policy decision.” 

Advocate Ali had argued that his client, Mr. Gawli would be entitled to benefit from the 2006 notification since he was convicted in the year 2009, and therefore, a subsequent notification which had come into force in the year 2015 would not have any applicability to Mr. Gawli.  

The State had registered the petition filed by Mr. Gawli on the ground that the 2015 notification specifically excludes the convict under MCOCA act from benefit of said policy. It further submitted that the even 2006 notification makes it clear that convicts under the act like the NDPS Act, the TADA act, the MPDA, et cetera are not entitled to the benefit of the policy.

“It was further contended that the terminology that is used is et cetera, and therefore even conviction under the MCOCA act would not be entitled to benefit of 2006 policy by taking resort to rule of ejusdem generis,” Mr. Ali said.  

After hearing the advocates, Mr. Nagman Ali for Mr. Gawli and M.J. Khan for the State of Maharashtra, the division bench on Friday pronounced the judgement in holding that Mr. Gawli would be entitled to the benefit of the 2006 policy and he cannot be excluded from the benefit of policy by resorting to rule of ejusdem generis. The State has been directed to decide on his release within four weeks from the date of order. 

A brief history of the case

Mumbaikar Arun Gawli is the infamous ‘don’ of Dagdi Chawl in Byculla where he served as an MLA from 2004 to 2009. He was arrested and underwent a trial in 2006 for the murder of Shiv Sena leader Kamalakar Jamsandekar. In August 2012, a sessions court in Mumbai had sentenced him to life imprisonment in the murder case. The court had also imposed a fine of ₹17 lakh on him. 

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