Bharat Shah convicted under IPC by special court

MUMBAI: Film financier Bharat Shah, formerly co promoter of B4U Entertainment, has been convicted under the Indian Penal Code by a special court "for conniving with the underworld and targeting Bollywood personalities for personal gain."

The flamboyant Shah, last spotted by the media at filmstar Karisma Kapoor's wedding in Mumbai yesterday, was found guilty under section 118 IPC (concealing design to facilitate crime) read with 387 IPC (extortion), says a PTI report.

However, the court acquitted him of the charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) due to `doubtful evidence but convicted him on other counts. The judge gave Shah the benefit of doubt as the 'panchnama' (a certificate signed by five persons) drawn by police to record the alleged telephonic talk between him and Shakeel on October 27, 2000, was "doubtful", according to agency reports.

Shah was convicted along with producer Nasim Rizvi and his assistant Abdul Rahim Allah Baksh.

Justice AP Bhangale acquitted co-accused and Dubai-based businessman Mohammed Shamshuddin alias Bhatija of the charges for lack of evidence. The court will decide on the quantum of punishment after hearing all parties tomorrow, says the PTI report.

Both Shah and Rizvi were first arrested in January 2001 for their alleged links with underworld don Chhota Shakeel in the production of the Bollywood potboiler Chori Chori Chupke Chupke and conspiring with him to kill film personalities. Shah was the financier of the film. Shah has been disassociated with B4U ever since.

While B4U was initially floated by Shah, industrialist Kishore Lulla and UK based steel magnate Lakshmi N Mittal, Mittal had withdrawn his stake from the entertainment network after Shah's arrest in 2001.

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