The Delhi High Court has awarded life imprisonment to two persons for abducting a youth for ransom and strangulating him to death 15 years ago.
A bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel upheld the verdict of a trial court sentencing Joginder and Vikas Chaudhary to life term, which would mean incarceration till their natural life, and that they would not be entitled to “any parole, remission or any furlough before 30 years of imprisonment” for the offences.
The bench, however, acquitted Vikas Sidhu, who was also awarded life term by the trial court, by giving him benefit of doubt.
“While the involvement of accused no. 1 (Joginder) and accused no. 2 (Chaudhary) stands conclusively established by the matching of their specimen voices with the questioned voices in the recorded ransom calls, there is no such evidence as far as accused no. 3 (Sidhu) is concerned.
“Therefore, he cannot be said to have been part of any criminal conspiracy or even shared a common intention of first abducting the deceased for ransom and then murdering him,” the bench said.
It said it has been conclusively proved by the prosecution that Joginder and Chaudhary entered into a criminal conspiracy and abducted 20-year-old Parakh Chadha for ransom.
They murdered him and concealed the evidence of the crime by burning the body and threw it in a ditch near the Hindon River in Ghaziabad, it said.
The high court has also upheld the trial court’s order directing Joginder and Chaudhary to pay a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the victim’s family.
The three men had challenged the trial court’s order of November last year.
According to the prosecution, on January 18, 2003, the accused persons had conspired and abducted Chadha, a resident of Ashok Vihar in north west Delhi, for a ransom of Rs 35 lakh.
They killed him the same night by strangulating him and threw the burnt body in the ditch to screen them from prosecution, it said; adding that one of the accused was known to the victim.
The accused had denied the incriminating evidence and claimed that they were implicated by the police.