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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Bombay high court acquits man on death row for boy’s kidnapping and murder; clears accomplice

The bench also acquitted his purported accomplice Azad Mehrunddula Ansari, 28, for want of satisfactory evidence.

mumbai Updated: Aug 14, 2019 14:52 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
The Bombay High court.
The Bombay High court.(Bhushan Koyande / HT Photo)

The Bombay high court on Wednesday set free a 26-year-old embroidery worker, who was on the death row for allegedly kidnapping and murdering the 12-year-old son of his former employer seven years ago.

A bench led by Justice BP Dharmadhikari acquitted Imtiyaz Ahmad Mohammed Sadik Ali Shaikh of all charges levelled against him after noticing that the prosecution had failed to prove the offences against him beyond a reasonable doubt.

The bench also acquitted his purported accomplice Azad Mehrunddula Ansari, 28, for want of satisfactory evidence.

In June 2012, Shaikh and Ansari were arrested along with three others, including a juvenile, for abducting the son of Rajesh Bhadange, who runs an embroidery workshop in Dharavi.

According to the prosecution, the accused abducted the boy on May 27, 2012, and demanded a ransom of Rs 25 lakh. The boy’s body was recovered from a drain in Bhiwandi, a day after the gang of five was apprehended on June 5, 2012.

Four of the five, except the juvenile, were tried for kidnapping and murdering the minor.

An additional sessions judge on May 23, 2018, convicted Shaikh and Ansari on the basis of circumstantial evidence and acquitted the other two. The trial court sentenced Shaikh to death and Ansari to life imprisonment.

Both of them had carried the matter in an appeal challenging their convictions and respective sentences. Their appeals were heard with the reference for confirmation of death sentence handed down to Shaikh.

The high court allowed their appeals and acquitted both of them of all the charges on the ground that none of the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution was proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The court said the prosecution failed to prove that the mobile phone from which the ransom calls were made was used by the accused. It also doubted the recovery of the body at the behest of the accused.

It said facts that Shaikh was earlier employed by the father of the boy and he was last seen alive in the company of the accused did not take the prosecution case any further.

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 14:52 IST

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