Karachi: Staff granted bail in doctor’s kidnap, murder case
KARACHI: An anti–terrorism court on Wednesday granted bail to two suspects allegedly involved in a case pertaining to the kidnapping and killing of a neurosurgeon. Neurosurgeon Dr Aftab Qureshi was abducted within the remit of the Brigade police station and killed in an exchange of fire after a police team raided a house where he was kept in Hyderabad in May this year. Seven suspects — Dr Ashok Kumar, said to be a quack, Farooq, Azhar Ali, Imdad Ali, Hath Khan, Mohammad Irfan and Abdul Aziz — have been charge-sheeted in the case.
Two of the seven suspects — Azhar and Imdad — the clinical staff of the victim surgeon, moved their bail applications before Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the ATC –III, who after hearing arguments from both sides, granted them bail against a surety bond of Rs200,000 each.
The court order talked about the material collected by the police against the two applicants that they were with the victim surgeon when he was kidnapped, cell number of suspect Imdad noted in the cellphone of prime suspect Kumar and the location of their mobile phones in the same vicinity soon after the abduction as well as the disclosure of the prime suspect before a DSP that suspect Imdad visited the place of the captivity.
However, the court ruled that neither the statement of the co-accused was recorded before the area magistrate nor did he disclosed any such thing before the investigation officer of the present case.
Any statement made before the police had no legal weight, it said, adding that the IO clearly stated that he had not collected sufficient material against the applicants, but since they had been charge-sheeted in a similar crime (connected case) by DSP Abdullah Unar, he also listed them as accused in the charge sheet.
The court further said that the cell number of Imdad might have been noted by the prime suspect from his visiting card.
Although the applicants were shown to have participated in the plot to kidnap Dr Qureshi, it was evident from the call data that not a single call was made to the prime suspect by suspect Imdad, it added.
The location of mobile phones within the range of the same tower could not be treated as cogent material to entangle the applicants in the crime unless some other corroborating set of solid evidence be brought on the record, the court ruled.
It further observed that no efforts were made by the police for holding an identification parade of suspect Imdad through the people of the Abdullah Villas, Hyderabad, the place of the captivity, to certify the disclosure of the prime suspect about the visit of the applicant to the place of the neurosurgeon’s captivity. Similarly, no material had been collected against other applicant Azhar except that the statement Imdad gave before the police that they were with the victim when he was abducted by three young men, who dropped both of them at near the Mazar-i-Quaid.
“The ultimate incarceration of a guilty person can repair the wrong caused by a mistaken relief of interim bail granted to him, but no satisfactory reparation can be offered to an innocent man for his unjustified incarceration at any stage of the case albeit his acquittal in the long run,” it added.
“Unless in the light of evidence in the hands of prosecution, the case is brought within parameter of expression reasonable grounds to believe that offence with which the person was being charged was committed by him, bare accusation would not sufficient to curtail his liberty,” the court order concluded.
According to the prosecution, Dr Qureshi was abducted when he along with his clinical staff left his clinic near Taj Complex on May 12. The kidnappers demanded Rs100 million for his safe release. The Citizens–Police Liaison Committee and the Anti–Violent Crime Cell jointly raided a house in Hyderabad on May 30 for the recovery of the captive, but he was killed in an exchange of gunfire between the police and the kidnappers. An ASI of the police and a captor were also killed in the incident, it added.
A case (FIR 130/12) was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 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 the victim’s son.
The same set of the suspects along with their accomplices have also been booked in another case at the Bhitai Nagar police station in Hyderabad for allegedly attacking a raiding police team in which one personnel was killed and another wounded.