Karachi: 6 acquitted in kidnap case
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court acquitted on Monday six accused in a case pertaining to kidnap for ransom owing to lack of evidence against them.
Conducting the trial, Judge Haq Nawaz Baloch of Anti-Terrorism Court V pronounced the verdict after recording final arguments from both sides. He observed that the prosecution could not provide sufficient evidence before the court to prove the involvement of the accused in the case.
According to the prosecution, Nadeem-ul-Haq, Attaullah Shah, Amir Hussain, Mehmood Bilal, Mohammad Rafiq and Mohammad Rashid kidnapped Noreen Ali and her friends Badal Masih and Shan Masih on University Road on Dec 19, 2007 and demanded Rs500,000 as ransom. However, they agreed to accept Rs50,000 for the release of the captives. Badal Masih alleged that three of the kidnappers were in police uniform.
According to the prosecution, the accused collected the ransom amount at the Star Gate and went away. They were chased by the Criminal Investigation Department police, who intercepted and challenged them at a place in the PECHS. A shootout took place and they were forced to surrender. The police also seized illegal weapons from them.
Around 15 prosecution witnesses were examined by the court. Earlier, in his final arguments, Mushtaq Ahmed, the defence counsel for Attaullah Shah and Mehmood Bilal, argued that the case was investigated by the CID operation branch, which was not authorised under the Police Order 2002 to investigate any case. Besides, there were glaring contradictions in the statements of the witnesses, he said, adding that the prosecution also changed the place of incident.
The defence counsel said it was not mentioned in the police file that the ransom was recovered from the possession of the accused. He concluded that the prosecution had failed to prove its case and his clients be acquitted giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Javed Chhatari and Mubasher Ali, who represented the other accused, said the prosecution could not provide sufficient evidence to prove its case, and pleaded for the acquittal of their clients.
The special public prosecutor sought capital punishment for the accused, saying that the prosecution had provided enough evidence in court. The accused were also charged under Section 13-D of the Arms Ordinance. The court, however, acquitted them in the case saying the prosecution had failed to prove that they possessed illegal weapons.