Five alleged killers of a youth, who was stabbed in the chest on April 23, have been let off by a Delhi court.
The decision comes after the victim's father and his two siblings, eye-witnesses to the incident, turned hostile during the trial.
"To the utter dismay of the prosecution, all of them have turned hostile... All three material witnesses (father, brother and sister of the victim), when confronted with their previous statements, remained adamant about their stand and did not whisper a word against any of the accused," additional sessions judge Manoj Jain said.
The court, after acquitting Jagdish, Chanchal, Deepak, Rakesh and Bharat, all hailing from Sultanpuri, ended the trial abruptly, saying that as the key eye-witnesses had turned hostile, there was no need to continue with the trial proceedings.
"The prosecution could have connected the accused with the murder in question, with the help of the testimony of aforesaid material eyewitnesses. But they all have demolished the prosecution's case by pleading ignorance," the court said.
Om Prakash, in his early twenties, was allegedly stalked and then stabbed on the
chest by one of the five accused following a verbal duel, police said.
The incident was witnessed allegedly by his father Keshu, sister Meera and brother Prahlad. Murari Lal and Prakash were the other eye-witnesses.
These five witnesses, in their statements to the police, said they saw the accused committing the offence.
But, they took a complete U-turn during the trial.
Discussing the testimony of the victim's father, the court said, "He has, however, deposed that he was told by Prahlad that there was a crowd inside the park; when he went there, he saw his other son, Om Prakash, lying there."
The court further observed, "Keshu claimed that he did not know who had killed his son. He deposed that he had not seen anyone killing him and he did not know the accused and had not seen them at the spot."
Similarly, others like Prahlad, Meera, Lal and Prakash have also not supported the case, the court said.