local court on Friday awarded life imprisonment to six convicts in a case of kidnapping of a Canada-based NRI in April 2012.
The court of additional district and sessions judge RK Jain held Pradeep Malik (28) of Gohana, Haryana; Sanjeev Kumar (32) alias Soni of Kurukshetra; Anil Kumar (35) of Gannour; Ajit Singh (26) of Hisar; Nitin (25) of Jhajjar and Sukhdev (34) of Kurukshetra, Haryana, guilty in the case on Wednesday. All accused have been fined Rs 18,500 each. They had been charged with kidnapping, robbery and wrongful confinement.
The NRI, Navneet Singh Chatha, was kidnapped on April 10, 2012, for Rs 1 crore ransom. A UT crime branch team rescued him after an operation in a Kurukshetra village within a few hours. The NRI’s brother, who is also a Canadian resident, had received the ransom call.
The UT police recovered Rs 52.5 lakh, 720 Canadian dollars, victim’s Honda Accord car besides a Maruti Swift Dzire , snatched from a Panchkula resident and two mobile phones.
Victim’s brother got clue in ransom call
Chatha appearing before court through video conferencing last year, said, “I refer to my brother as Ginnu or Garry. That day I called him by his complete name — Gurneet Singh Chatha — to hint that I was in trouble.”
“I could not have told him that I was kidnapped as the kidnappers had forced me to call him at gunpoint and demanded Rs 1 crore. I told my brother that the money was for a land deal and it made him suspicious. He called for help,” said Chatha, who identified Pradeep, Sanjeev, Anil and Ajit Singh by the colour of their shirts. He failed to identify Nitin and Sukhdev.
In its order, the court said that at the time of identifying the accused there was a technical problem through video conferencing. As all accused were earlier named and were all there for the crime of commission, the benefit could not be extended to accused Nitin and Sanjeev for not getting them properly identified through video conferencing, the court added. It referred Amit Kumar, the servant of victim Chatha, as the star witness.
Amit had identified the accused as they collected money from him from the Sector 18 residence of the victim.
* Canada-based NRI Navneet Singh Chatha was kidnapped on April 10, 2012, for Rs 1 crore ransom. A UT police team rescued him after an operation from a Kurukshetra village within hours of kidnapping.
* The NRI’s brother, who is also a Canadian resident, had received the ransom call
* The victim was kept in a farmhouse owned by one of the accused
* A trap was laid at the farmhouse and after an exchange of gunshots between the police and the kidnappers, the accused were nabbed