Gujarat: HC acquits former gangster Fazlu in 18-year-old extortion case

The city police had booked former gangster Fazl-ur-Rehman and four others for firing at the office of a businessman in order to extort Rs 25 lakh.

A sessions court on Wednesday acquitted five persons, including former gangster Fazl-ur-Rehman, from an alleged extortion and firing case of 2000.

The city police had booked Rehman and four others for firing at the office of a businessman in order to extort Rs 25 lakh.

Sessions Judge N P Saiyed pronounced the order acquitting all the accused — Rehman, Rejendrakumar Anadkat alias Raju Sharma, Ramesh R Prajapati, Rohit R Patel and Amrut H Patel.

According to the case filed by the police, city-based businessman Jayant Patel had allegedly received as many as five calls, in July and August, from a person who identified himself as gangster Fazl-ur-Rehman.

Rehman, who had said he was calling from Dubai, had demanded Rs 25 lakh as protection money from Patel, the police said.

As per police records, Rehman said, “Mai Fazlu bol raha hoon, aap ko paisa dena padega, apko dhandha karna hai toh paisa dena hoga, mai Dubai se bolta hoon (I am Fazlu speaking, you will have to give money if you want to do business, I am calling from Dubai).”

When Patel did not heed to the demands, the record states, two armed men had opened fire at his office in Ellisbridge area on October 7, 2000 at around 3.30 pm, to threaten Patel.

The Ellisbridge police had lodged an FIR and the investigation was handed over to Ahmedabad Crime Branch.

The defence lawyers argued that prosecution had failed to establish that Rehman had called from Dubai and sought protection money as had been alleged.

“The investigating officer failed to prove that he had identified the caller. The police had not even verified on paper that the phone number was registered in Dubai. The police did not produce any evidence to show that the caller was Fazl-ur-Rehman,” said advocate Kunal N Shah, who appeared for Rehman. Earlier on November 30, a sessions court had acquitted Rehman and Bhogilal Darji from the alleged kidnapping of businessman Gautam Adani, the owner of Adani Group.

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