Karachi: 4 kidnappers jailed for life
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court on Wednesday sentenced four persons to life imprisonment for kidnapping a five–year–old boy for ransom. The court found Sultan Zaib, Noor Bacha Khan, Israil and his wife, Parveen, guilty of kidnapping, Sherdil, 5, in the Qayyumabad area in July 2007 and demanding a ransom for his release. The judge, Abdul GhafoorMemon of ATC-II, who conducted the trial, pronounced the verdict after recording final arguments from both sides. The court also ordered confiscation of moveable and immovable properties of the convicts. The judge in his verdict observed that the prosecution had successfully proved its case against all the accused by producing sufficient evidence before the trial court.
The evidence was corroborated by prosecution witnesses while no enmity was found between the accused and the complainant. The judicial magistrate in his statement said that the witnesses had identified the accused during the identification parade held in his court.
The judge further observed that he had not found major contradictions in the statements of prosecution witnesses.
According to the prosecution, the accused had kidnapped Sherdil in Qayyumabad on July 26, 2007 and demanded a ransom of Rs2.1 million from the victim`s family for his release. It said the accused had been involved in a number of cases of kidnap for ransom and had kidnapped the boy for money. However, the matter was reported to the Anti–Violent Crime Cell when both sides were busy settling the ransom amount. A team of the AVCC, acting on a tip-off, conducted a raid in the Quaidabad area on Aug 22, 2007 and arrested Sultan Zaib and Noor Bacha Khan.
The prosecution added that during the initial interrogation the accused had revealed the names of their associates and on a lead given by the arrested accused a team raided a hotel in Lea Market the same day and arrested the remaining two accused and recovered the captive child from their custody.
The investigation officer, Mohammad Babar, said in the charge-sheet that the two subscriber identity modules (SIMs) used for the demand of ransom from the victim`s family were seized from Sultan Zaib, adding that the accused had visited the victim`s home a couple of days before the incident and three witnesses also testified to the reconnaissance visit of the accused in their statements. The police also seized the kidnapped child from the custody of Israil and Perveen, the charge-sheet said. The names of 14 witnesses were placed in the charge-sheet. However, eight of them, including the victim, Javed, sub–inspector Ali Mohammad, judicial magistrate MaqboolMemon and hotel manager MunirHussain, were examined and the others were excluded by the court on the prosecution`s request.
A case (FIR 571/07) was registered on Aug 10 under Section 365–A/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act at the Korangi police station on the complaint of the victim`s uncle, Mohammad Javed.
In his final arguments, defence counsel AshfaqJanjua said there was no direct evidence against his clients and the prosecution had failed to establish its case.
He argued that the persecution claimed that the victim was recovered from the custody of two accused in a hotel, but the record of the hotel did not corroborate the claim.
He further submitted that the victim did not identify any accused specifically, nor did he assign any role to him, adding that the AVCC chief, along with a deputy inspector-general of police, addressed a press conference about the arrest of the accused on Aug 23 and instead of investigating the case, the investigation officer inserted that press briefing in the prosecution story.
The defence counsel contended that the identification parade was not held as per the law. He concluded that his clients were arrested in Sohrab Goth for their suspected association with the Taliban and when the police found no such evidence, they were shown in blind FIRs of kidnapping for ransom.
The special public prosecutor, Taseer Khan, argued that the prosecution had successfully proved its case against the accused persons by producing ample evidence before the trial court and sought the maximum punishment for the accused.
The convicts were already in custody and remanded to the prison with the conviction order to serve the sentence.
The court gave the benefit of Section 382-B (period of detention to be considered while awarding sentence of imprisonment) of the Criminal Procedure Code to all the convicts.