A trial court has acquitted noted gangster Raja Acharya in the College Square firing case of 1994 in which a local businessman Dinesh Thakur was critically wounded.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Ms Geeta Mohanty on Tuesday exonerated Acharya of attempt to murder and extortion charges framed against him by local police.

Lack of evidence and dithering statements of prosecution witnesses led to the gangster’s acquittal. Besides being framed under Sections 307 and 387 of IPC, Acharya was also booked under Section 27 of Arms Act.

The prosecution case was that Acharya had allegedly demanded extortion money from Thakur who was running a popular snacks outlet at the College Square. When Thakur refused to comply with the demand, Acharya had allegedly barged into his outlet on July 4, 1994 and fired at him.

With two bullet injuries in his abdomen and left thigh, Thakur was rushed to the nearby SCB Medical College and Hospital where he recuperated. But Acharya, who went underground soon after the incident, was arrested by the city police after two weeks.