Karachi: Man acquitted in kidnap case
KARACHI: Citing lack of evidence, an anti–terrorism court acquitted on Tuesday an accused in a kidnap for ransom case. Judge Abdul Ghafoor Memon of ATC II, who was conducting the trial, pronounced the verdict after hearing the final arguments from both sides.
The judgment said the evidence provided by the prosecution was inadequate to prove the involvement of the accused in the case and the police did not recover the ransom money from the accused. “There is no eyewitness in the case while there were obvious contradictions in the statements of the other witnesses, therefore the accused may not be connected with the alleged offence,” it added.
Farhan Qasim, Ghulam Abbas, his wife Ayesha, Pervez, Salamat, and Naeem were charged with kidnapping Ahmed Yousuf for ransom. The accused had allegedly kidnapped Ahmed on Nov 13, 2007 in the Aziz Bhatti police limits while the victim was on way to his office.
The kidnapers demanded Rs50 million from the victim’s family. Later they reportedly reduced the amount to Rs1 million and released the victim on Jan 8 after collecting the money.
The AVCC conducted a raid on March 7 in the Maripur area and arrested an accused, Farhan Qasim. The remaining accused are still at large. Around 13 witnesses had testified in the case.
A case (FIR 419/07) was registered at the Aziz Bhatti police station under Section 265-A/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act on the complaint of Faisal Waheed. The investigation officer, Ateeq-ur-Rehman of the AVCC, said in the charge-sheet that the accused with his associates had kidnapped Ahmed for ransom.
The defence counsel, Shaukat Hayat, in his final arguments submitted before the court that the prosecution did not prove its case against the accused and that his client was falsely implicated in it.
Referring to the prosecution’s claim, he argued that the identification parade of the accused had not been held in a proper manner as legal proceedings on that day (March 16) had remained completely suspended in the City Courts on account of the lawyers’ strike.
He further submitted that there were glaring contradictions in the statements of the witnesses produced by the prosecution and the police did not recover any weapon or ransom money from the possession of his client.
He concluded that the prosecution produced neither eyewitness nor solid evidence before the trial court. He pleaded for the acquittal of his client.
However, the special public prosecutor argued that the prosecution had successfully proved its case against the accused, and requested the court to award him capital punishment. The prosecution said that the victim had also identified the accused Farhan Qasim during the identification parade.