Preeti had, in 2004, filed a rape complaint against Mr Bhandarkar with the Mumbai police.
Mumbai: A sessions court in Mumbai on Friday awarded three years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 to model Preeti Jain and her accomplice Naresh Pardeshi for plotting the murder of film director Madhur Bhandarkar in 2005. Preeti had, in 2004, filed a rape complaint against Mr Bhandarkar with the Mumbai police.
A year later, she allegedly hatched the plan to kill Mr Bhandarkar and hired Pardeshi, an alleged goon affiliated with the gang of gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli. Jain paid Rs 75,000 to Pardeshi for the hit. After her conviction, the sessions court granted bail of Rs 15,000 to Jain and gave her four weeks’ time to appeal against the conviction in the Bombay high court. According to the prosecution, in July 2004, Jain lodged a complaint with the Mumbai police, alleging that between 1999 and 2004 the National Award-winning filmmaker had raped her on several occasions on the pretext of casting her as an actress in his films. She also alleged that Bhandarkar had promised to marry her but reneged on this later.
Public prosecutor Manohar Kandalkar claimed that Jain visited Dagdi chawl in 2005 in the hopes of meeting Gawli, but the latter was out on some personal work. Pardeshi, an active member of gang, had met her and promised to kill Bhandarkar after which Jain paid him Rs 75,000, according to Mr Kandalkar.
After contacting two people who arranged for a gun from Uttar Pradesh, Pardeshi along with a few others had reconnoitred around the house of Bhandarkar at Khar and they took note of the time when Mr Bhandarkar used to reach at home.
However, Pardeshi did not carry out the murder, and a frustrated Jain went to meet Gawli who was attending a function of his political party, Akhil Bhartiya Sena (ABS). At the event, she met a close Gawli aide and complained that, despite taking money from her, Pardeshi had not murdered Bhandarkar. When Gawli came to know about this conspiracy, he filed complaint at the Agripada police station via his legal adviser Mahendra Bagwe.
The police then arrested six people including Jain and Pardeshi under various charges of the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act.
The prosecution had examined total 51 witnesses in the case and five to six of them were policemen, said Mr Kandalkar. While speaking with The Asian Age, Jain said, “I will challenge this conviction in the Bombay high court. I have full faith in the judiciary and I am confident I will get justice.”