New Delhi: A builder, along with four contract killers, were today awarded life imprisonment by a Delhi court for conspiring and killing his business partner to evade a payment of Rs six crore.
Additional Sessions Judge Hemani Malhotra handed down the jail term to the builder and property dealer, Mahender Nigam, and four others - Javed, Nadir, Mahesh Kumar and Subhash - who were hired by him to kill builder Yogesh Sharma by shooting him down in 2004.
The court relied on circumstantial evidence and held the five men guilty for the offences under sections 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
"I am of the considered and firm view that the prosecution has been successful in proving beyond reasonable doubt that Mahesh, Subhash, Nadir and Javed were members of criminal conspiracy to eliminate victim Yogesh Sharma at the behest of main conspirator Mahender Nigam who owed crores of rupees to the victim being his unpaid accumulated share in their joint construction business," the judge said.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each on the five convicts, all residents of Delhi.
It, however, acquitted two other accused - Rakesh and Syed Abrar - giving them benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence against them. Proceedings against Mahender's brother and co-accused Ganesh Nigam were abated as he died during pendency of trial.
According to the prosecution, Yogesh and Mahender were jointly doing a property construction business and Mahender owed around Rs six crores to the victim.
In order to evade the payment to Yogesh, Mahender hatched a conspiracy with seven the other co-accused to eliminate him. He hired contract killers who fired two gun shots at the victim near Daryaganj here in February 2004.
The court, while concluding that Mahender was the "main conspirator", noted that he owed around Rs six crore to the Yogesh, being his accumulated share in their business.
"Mahender Nigam thereby had very strong motive to kill him," it said.