Mumbai, Feb. 1: A special court today rejected the applications made by gutka kings Rasiklal Dhariwal and Jagdish Joshi to cancel the non-bailable warrants issued by the city police on charges of alleged links with the underworld.
Judge A.P. Bhangale rejected the petitions on the ground that the ongoing investigations into the case of the gutka industry's alleged links with the underworld required the presence of Dhariwal and Joshi ' owners of the two biggest brands of chewable tobacco ' Manikchand and Goa.
Bhangale observed that certain confessional statements in the material presented by the police had underlined the need for further investigations into the duo's alleged nexus with the underworld.
It means the two gutka manufacturers, who are currently believed to be in the UAE, would be arrested when they arrive in India.
Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian argued in the court that a non-bailable warrant issued under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act indicated a serious offence and opposed the cancellation of the warrants.
Dhariwal's lawyer Rajendra Shirodkar said: 'We will consult the client and decide whether to appeal against the order in Mumbai High Court.'
The court order came in the wake of separate petitions filed by Joshi and Dhariwal on January 24 and 27, urging cancellation of the non-bailable warrants that the court issued after they failed to appear before the police for interrogation.
Both Dhariwal and Joshi had said in their plea that their NRI status required them to stay abroad for a stipulated period of time and they were willing to be questioned on their on their return to India. They also pointed out that there was no evidence against them since the police chargesheet filed in the case did not mention their names.
On January 24, Mumbai police had filed a chargesheet against Anees Ibrahim, brother of Pakistan-based don Dawood Ibrahim, Jamiruddin alias Jumbo, Rajesh Panchariya and Farooq Mansoori in connection with the gutka industry's alleged links with the underworld.
The police had been probing the links after Jamiruddin and Panchariya disclosed that they had exported gutka manufacturing equipment to Pakistan via Dubai.
According to the police, the two had also revealed that the equipment was sent to Pakistan after Dhariwal and Joshi visited Karachi to settle their business disputes.
To enforce a ban on its sale, the food and drug administration department of the Maharashtra government recently conducted raids in Pune and other parts of the state and seized gutka worth Rs 7 lakh.
The department banned the sale of gutka from January 30 after an analysis showed gutka and pan masala contained carcinogenic material like magnesium carbonate.