Five years after 14-year-old Raj Agarwal went missing, the sessions court convicted seven people to life imprisonment for kidnapping and killing him.
Raj had gone missing on November 13, 2003, when he was on his way to Dadar Parsee Youth Assembly School at Wadala from his residence at Dimple Apartment in Sewri.
On Friday, the court observed that Raj’s death was homicidal and done for monetary gains.
It convicted Syed Aslam Jafar (30), Syed Akhtar Jafar (32), Sachin Bunkar (23), Nadeem Shaikh (22), Karan Walmiki (20), Surendra Kadam (48) and Govind Shinde (27).
But the court acquitted Rajendra Bhosle (26), Balu Latke (20) and Dhanaji Hazare (21) for lack of evidence.
Two other accused, Salim Kapadia (22) and Rashid Khan (26), who had jumped bail three years ago, will be tried separately, said Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.
A day after the kidnap, Raj’s father Kunjbihari Agarwal (55) received a ransom call for Rs 50 crore. The police monitored the calls, negotiated with the kidnappers and brought down the ransom amount to Rs 5 lakh.
“The police took Rs 5 lakh and told me they were going to pay it to the person the kidnappers wanted,” said Kunj-bihari, a businessman. “They said they would lay a trap and get my son back. But neither they returned nor my son.”
In March 2004, Kunjbihari moved the high court. The next day, a Crime Branch team called on Kunjbihari claiming they found the skeletal remains of Raj near Daund village in Pune.
Kunjbihari refused to accept that the remains were of his son, saying the clothes and school bag did not belong to Raj.
The police, however, alleged that Valmiki and four others had kidnapped Raj in a Qualis and after receiving the ransom, killed and buried him.
Later, two DNA tests were conducted on the skeletal remains in April and June 2004. While the first test was negative, the second stated that the bones are “biologically related” to the father.
The police filed chargesheet against the 12 accused.