Mumbai Local

Juvenile in Ashwin Naik gang out on bail

key member of the Ashwin Naik gang, who was held in a recent extortion and kidnapping case of a city builder, is a juvenile.

While eight gang members have been charged under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act 1999, the law brought out to combat organised crime and terrorism, the 17-year-old is out on bail. Special public prosecutor Dilip Shah said, “The juvenile was arrested on December 23 by the Dadar police, remanded before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and released on bail the very next day.”

He added, “While MCOCA charges were levied on the others on December 28, the juvenile was already out on bail as the court was not made aware of the additional charges. The police custody of all the other accused ends on January 2, and the JJB will have to summon the juvenile as MCOCA has been invoked .”

Mr Shah also said, “But even after MCOCA charges, he can be out on bail as the Juvenile Justice Act protects him.

He has to issue a fresh bond for bail and the JJB can levy strict conditions on him. He may be asked not to leave the country, or may be asked to be present once a week at the police station or whatever they deem fit.”

Pointing out factors under which he may not be granted bail or that may lead to the cancellation of his bail, Mr Shah said, “That can happen if he becomes a major before January 2 and/or commits another offence.”

The juvenile, with the others, has been booked under section 364A (abduction), 384 (punishment for extortion), 387 (putting person in fear of death or of grievous injury, in order to commit extortion), 34 (common intention) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. In addition, sections 3 (licence for acquisition and possession of firearms and ammunition) and 25 (pertaining to punishment for possession of ammunition) of the Arms Act were also invoked.

Criminal lawyer Satish Maneshinde said, “Unless he is convicted by the JJB, he cannot be tried under MCOCA even if charges are levied on him.” He added, “The JJ Bill protects him and grants him bail.”

On learning about the juvenile’s bail, the Deputy Commissioner of Police Zone V, Mahesh Patil, said, “He (juvenile) has a major role to play in the kidnapping and extortion. Even if he is on bail, he can still be tried under MCOCA.”

He added, “It is good that the Juvenile Justice Amendment Bill proposes to reduce the age of juveniles to 16 from 18.”

Advocate Anjali Rao, who appears for juveniles at the Dongri remand home where around 200 juveniles are housed, said, “For any accused, bail is the rule and jail an exception, so what is the big deal if this accused happens to be a juvenile and is out on bail.

As he is under 18, he will be tried as a juvenile where he ought to be out on bail no matter what the charges.”

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 3:12:01 AM |

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