Mumbai: A Mumbai sessions court Monday acquitted four accused in the 2007 kidnapping and murder of 16-year-old Adnan Patrawala after the prosecution failed to prove its case, a lawyer said. The victim's father termed the verdict "shocking" and said he would appeal in a higher court.
"The court has rubbished the conspiracy theories by the prosecution in this case. With the chain of circumstances not being proven in court, the case has gone in favour of the defence," defence counsel Ashish Chavan told reporters here.
The four accused were Amit Kaushal, Ayush Bhat, Sujit Nair and Rajeev Dhariya. The fifth accused, a minor, is being tried in a juvenile court.
Adnan, the son of Mumbai builder Aslam Patrawala, was strangled on August 18, 2007 allegedly by his friends. Adnan, who had taken his father's car to meet his friends, was found in bushes near Palm Beach Road in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
The accused had allegedly befriended Adnan at a gaming zone at a mall in Malad in northwest Mumbai. They interacted with him via a social networking site and met at the mall, following which Adnan was asked them to drop the accused at their homes close by.
They later kidnapped him and demanded a ransom of Rs.2 crore from his family. But as the news of kidnapping broke, they strangled him to death and dumped his body in bushes.
The police charged the accused with kidnapping, murder, extortion and destruction of evidence.
Chavan said that the court rejected the claim of the witness produced by the prosecution, who said he heard the accused hatching the plan to kidnap Adnan in a shopping mall.
"The entire case is based on circumstantial evidence and the chain of events has not been established. It is still a death, but murder has not been proved," said Chavan.
According to Chavan, another theory by the prosecution about the recovery of Adnan's body has also proved to be wrong. "Both the theories of prosecution have been disbelieved by the court. The prosecution failed to support its allegations and claims with evidence in the court," Chavan said.
"The theory of ransom has not been proved and call records have not been produced before the court," he added.
Terming the sessions court verdict as "shocking", Adnan's father Aslam Patrawala said that he will not give up till justice is served.
"Very shocking, very shocking. What can I say? Justice has been denied to us and I don't know why the court has given this kind of judgement. The case was very straightforward and clear," he said.
"I will seek further counsel from my lawyer and decide on further action. We will go to the Supreme Court if need be," he added.