Chandigarh: Giving benefit of doubt, a CBI court has acquitted five persons in the infamous Jammu and Kashmir sex-scandal as three prime witnesses turned hostile.
Those acquitted include alleged kingpin Sabeena and her husband Abdul Hamid. However, they are still being tried in two more cases here and one in Srinagar.
CBI Judge Vimal Kumar yesterday acquitted Absar Ahmad, Hilal Ahmad, Aijaz Ahmad, Sabeena and her husband Abdul Hamid Bullah in a case under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.
"The statements recorded by Sessions Judge and Judicial Magistrate in Srinagar under the purview of Section 164 of the CrPC are not admissible as evidence against the accused until and unless the witnesses support the case of the prosecution. Here, in the trial court the witnesses did not support the cases," defence counsel Rabindra Pandit said here today.
CBI counsel RK Handa said that "victims did not support the cases of prosecution therefore the accused were given benefit of doubt."
The sex scandal rocked the Kashmir Valley in 2006. Nine cases for various offences, including Section 376 (rape) of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), Immoral Trafficking Act and the Information Technology Act were registered.
Nine accused were named in one case, while three each were named in the remaining eight cases. The names of Sabina and her husband Bullah had figured in all the cases.
The other accused included former Jammu and Kashmir minister Raman Mattoo, former DSP Mohammad Ashraf Mir, bureaucrat Iqbal Khandey, former DSP Mohammad Yusuf Mir and former Additional Advocate General Anil Sethi.
In October, 2012, two witnesses, including a woman special police officer, had turned hostile in the trial.
And, in the same year, the court had acquitted two others - former J&K minister and a senior bureaucrat, who were allegedly in-charge of "procuring, inducing or taking a person for the sake of prostitution".