By Ishaq Tanoli
KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court on Monday sentenced a couple to life imprisonment on charges of kidnapping an eight-year-old boy for ransom.
Judge Syed Hasan Shah Bukhari of ATC-I found the couple, Adnan Ahmed Khan and Naila, guilty of kidnapping the boy, Arsalan, for ransom in August 2008 in the remit of the Sachal police station.
The couple wanted to get married but did not have the money. Therefore, they kidnapped the boy for ransom in order to meet their wedding expenses.
According to the verdict, the victim boy was a star witness of the case and he had fully supported the prosecution version. Though the boy was cross-examined at length, his evidence was not shaken, it added.
The verdict says that the victim was a most natural and innocent witness having no grudge against the accused to involve them in any false case while his testimony was also corroborated by other prosecution witnesses. The boy had rightly identified the accused before the trial court and also assigned them their roles [in the offence], it added.
The court observed that there was no major contradiction in the statements of the prosecution witnesses and accused Adnan had voluntarily recorded his confessional statement before the court of a judicial magistrate.
The judgment concluded that after considering the evidence that came on record, the court was of the considered view that the prosecution has successfully proved its case against both the accused.
According to the prosecution, the accused kidnapped the boy, Arsalan, on August 13, 2008 and demanded a ransom of Rs10 million for his release. However, the matter was reported to the police and the Anti-Violent Crime Cell tracked down the kidnappers, conducted a raid on a house in Scout Colony in the Gulzar-i-Hijri area on Sept 15, 2008 and arrested the couple. The boy was also recovered from their custody, it added.
A case (FIR 478/08) was registered under Section 365-A (kidnapping for ransom) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7(e) of the Anti-terrorism Act, 1997, on the complaint of the victim’s grandfather at the Sachal police station.
Earlier, in his final arguments, Special Public Prosecutor Mohammad Khan Burirro said that the confessional statement of accused Adnan under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code was recorded in accordance with the law by the judicial magistrate concerned and it was very much valid.
He said that the prosecution had examined 13 witnesses and all of them had testified against the accused in the case, adding that the victim had also supported the prosecution’s version and identified the accused before the trial court and his evidence was reliable and could not be overlooked merely on the basis of his age.
The defence counsel argued that there was no evidence against their clients except the confessional statement of accused Adnan, which should not be treated as valid evidence as the judicial magistrate concerned had admitted before the trial court that instead of sending the accused to jail, he had handed him over to the investigation officer of the case.
The confessional statement was also recorded with a delay of nine days, they added.