The Delhi High Court has acquitted a man of the charge of kidnapping and strangulating a businessman and disposing of his body in a well 18 years ago, saying the prosecution failed to prove his guilt.
A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel allowed accused Deepak Sarna's appeal while setting aside his conviction and life sentence awarded by a trial court for the offences in February 2004.
"...the prosecution has not been able to prove each of the links in the chain of circumstances or that the proved circumstances point unmistakably to the guilt of the appellant (Sarna).
"In any event, the trial court erred in convicting the appellant for the substantive offences under Sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the IPC when there was no charge framed against him to that effect," the bench said.
Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, who was representing Sarna, said the trial court committed an error in convicting his client for the substantive offences of murder, kidnapping and destruction of evidence although no charge to this effect was framed against him.
He said the other two accused were acquitted of the charges and their acquittal was not challenged by the state. Hence, the charge of criminal conspiracy had to fail even against Sarna, he said.
According to the prosecution, Sarna and two others entered into a criminal conspiracy on October 28, 2000, to abduct and murder a businessman.
It was alleged that they abducted the victim and murdered him by stabbing and strangulation and disposed of his body in a well after removing his belongings. The accused was arrested after the crime and later granted bail.
According to the victim's father, Sarna was known to the family for several years and the relations became strained after the victim demanded his money which he had lend to Sarna.
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