Thane court acquits 3 persons charged under MCOCA in 2008 theft case

A court in Thane district has acquitted three persons accused of a theft in 2008 and charged under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), giving them the benefit of doubt.

Special MCOCA court judge Amit M Shete, in the order passed on November 1, held that the prosecution has failed to prove the charges against the three accused – Shabbir Haroon Shaikh (34), Mahesh Anand Hegade (44) and Aana @ Anwar Rashid Shaikh (30).

The prosecutor told the court that accused allegedly broke into a general store in Naupada area of Thane city between December 27 and 29, 2008 and stole goods from the shop.

They were habitual criminals and hence also booked under the MCOCA, the prosecution said.

The counsels for the accused, however, contested the charges and punched holes in the prosecution theory.

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The judge in his order said the prosecution failed to produce on record any corroborative material in order to show that the accused have, in fact, committed the crime.

The prosecution story is based on circumstantial evidence. The investigation officers failed to collect material to establish the chain of circumstances so as to prove the guilt of the accused, the court said.

In view of the failure in proving the charges under the Indian Penal Code, the accused are also required to be given benefit for the offence punishable under the MCOCA, the judge said.

The trial against a fourth accused in the case has been separated as he is still at large.

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