Mumbai: Over a decade after they were awarded life sentences by the trial Court for kidnapping a nine-year-old boy, the Bombay High Court has acquitted four persons for lack of evidence.
"There is no evidence to show that they had demanded ransom from the victim`s mother, or conspired to kidnap.... guilt of none of the accused was proved beyond reasonable doubt," Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Shrihari Davare said in a recent judgement.
Abdul Khan, Rahul Surwade, Nabi Shah and Raganath Chavan were lodged in Nasik Central jail since 2001.
The defence lawyer had argued that while the boy, Dinesh Patil, was only nine years old, the body found by police was of a boy of 14 to 15 years of age.
"Looking at the discrepancy in age and height, it will not be possible to accept the case of the prosecution that body recovered by Turbhe police was that of the deceased boy," the court held.
Dinesh was kidnapped on November 27, 2001 on his way back home from school, and ransom of Rs one lakh was demanded. According to Turbhe police, the four accused kidnapped Dinesh, killed him and threw the body into a stormwater drain between Sanpada and Jui Nagar in Navi Mumbai.
The trial court acquitted them of murder and robbery charges, but found guilty of kidnapping.