A special court acquitted gangster Ashwin Naik and seven others allegedly part of his gang on Tuesday in a 2015 extortion case of a developer and his partner for Rs. 50 lakhs and a floor space in an upcoming project in Dadar.
The victims had already parted with Rs. 25 lakhs due to death threats, before deciding to approach the police, as per the complaint. The others acquitted are Pramod Keluskar, Prathamesh Parab, Janardhan Sakpal, Rajesh Tambe, Avinash Khedkar, Milind Parab and Suraj Pal. Advocate Prakash Shetty appeared from Naik.
Special Judge RR Bhosale acquitted the eight men of offences under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA), Arms Act and IPC provisions pertaining to extortion among other offences.
On December 9, 2015, the builder’s bike got waylaid in Dadar by five men of Naik in a Scorpio. One of them told him they were Ashwin Naik’s men and that ‘bhai’ had ordered them to pick him up. The builder had said in his police statement that one of the men sitting beside him in the car had a firearm and intimidated him with the weapon to prevent him from raising an alarm. The men had taken him to Naik’s office where Naik had demanded Rs. 50 lakhs from him as well as 6,000 sq ft of space in a proposed project in Dadar.
Thereafter, he started receiving threats on the phone from Naik and the gangster also came outside his office on December 19, 2015 and followed up about the amount. The builder did not want to pay the amount and decided to approach the police. The following day, a trap was laid and when he was paying Rs. 2 lakhs to Naik’s men, the police apprehended them all.
As per the builder’s complaint, Naik had told him and his partners that they would have to pay him if they wanted to carry out any construction in Dadar. The firm had received a contract from the BMC for developing 47 tenements.