Karachi: 2 women among 4 jailed for life in child kidnap case
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court sentenced on Wednesday four accused, including two women, to life imprisonment in a case pertaining to the kidnapping of a minor child for ransom. The court found Samreen, Yasmin, Mohammad Sohail and Mohammad Javed guilty of abducting two-year-old Rabia within the remit of the Bahadurabad police station in December 2008 and demanding a ransom for her safe release.
Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the ATC-III pronounced his verdict after recording the evidence of witnesses and final arguments from both sides.
The court also ordered that the moveable and immovable property of the accused to the extent of Rs200,000 each be confiscated.
According to the verdict, the court examined the confessional statements of the female accused, which were recorded by a judicial magistrate, with care and caution and the same was supported by other pieces of evidence including the prosecution
witnesses. One of the female accused in her confessional statement said that a major part of the ransom was deposited in a bank, the verdict said, adding that the remaining amount was found in a house where the victim was kept.
Referring to the contention of the defence counsel about a delay in recording confessional statements and that the police subjected both the women to torture and forced them to confess as well as the procedural errors on the part of the judicial magistrate while recording confessions, the court observed that it found no legal justification or convincing material in the plea of the defence side.
It further stated that a glance at the confessional statements reflected that a policewoman had examined both the women with their consent and found no mark of violence on their bodies and besides this, no evidence had been offered to prove the allegation of police torture upon the women accused. A mere delay in recording the confessional statement was not enough to discard the same unless it was proved that the confession was obtained by coercion, it added.
The complainant and another prosecution witness, who handed over the ransom money to both the male accused, deposed against them and also identified them by assigning their roles during an identification parade, the verdict said.
Accused Sohail in his statement recorded under Section 342 of the criminal procedure code by the trial court said that he received Rs1 million from his friend, Adnan Ahmed, for investment in business under a money transaction agreement and deposited the amount in a bank and alleged that the investigation officer took him to the bank and forcibly got this amount transferred to the account of one Sheikh Muneer.
However, the court ruled that the accused had neither examined his friend Adnan in his defence nor produced any other evidence to substantiate his plea and added that if the IO got the money transferred, then the accused could initiate legal proceedings against him, but the same could not be treated as detrimental to the prosecution case.
One of the female accused had examined one of her relatives in her defence, but the court observed that being a close relative of the accused without any cogent proof the statement of the defence witness could not be credited as trustworthy.
In a reference to another contention of the defence about the acquittal of the male accused in police encounter and illicit weapons cases, the court observed that it was the principle of law to decide each and every case on its own merits, thus acquittal in a case could not be treated as sufficient for acquittal in another case. “All the above factors when combined together leave no room for doubt in my mind that the present accused and none else were the author of the crime, they under camouflaged conspiracy, kidnapped baby Rabia for ransom purpose and after receipt of Rs2,000,000 released her in the manner as introduced on record by the prosecution witnesses,” the verdict concluded.
According to the prosecution, Samreen, a maidservant at the victim’s house, along with her aunt Yasmin and male accomplices Mohammad Sohail and Mohammad Javed kidnapped the minor girl on Nov 24, 2008 and demanded a ransom of Rs20 million for her safe release. A couple of days later they released the captive after collecting Rs2 million, while the police apprehended them on Nov 29, it added.
A case (FIR 225/08) was registered under Sections 365-A (kidnapping for ransom) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 on a complaint of an uncle of the victim.
The accused were produced in custody and the court remanded them back to prison to serve out the remainder of their sentence.