Teen murder: suspect a minor or an adult?

The police and parents of a teenager accused of planning the kidnap and murder of HSC student Mukeem Khan for a ransom of Rs 2 lakh are in a dispute over the age of the accused.

Written by Jaidev Hemmady | Mumbai | Published: February 19, 2009 1:04 am

AGE DEBATE: Parents say he’s 17,police believe he’s 19

The police and parents of a teenager accused of planning the kidnap and murder of HSC student Mukeem Khan for a ransom of Rs 2 lakh are in a dispute over the age of the accused. While the Khar police claim Jamal Shaikh (name changed) is 19,which makes him a major and hence liable to be tried under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code,the parents of the Rizvi College student say he is only 17 and hence his case should be handled under the juvenile justice system.

Mubarak Shaikh,a neighbour of the accused,said,“The age of Jamal as shown in news and also by the police is false. Jamal’s actual age is 17,but he was shown two years older to facilitate his admission to school. He doesn’t deserve to be treated like a hardened criminal. We are sure that he is innocent.”

However,the Khar police say they are in no doubt that the arrested is not only a major but also the mastermind of the crime. Police inspector Baburao Mukhedkar said,“It was Jamal who planned the crime and persuaded Salim (name changed) to join him. It was Jamal who told us where the body was dumped and other such details. How could he know that if he wasn’t involved in the crime?”

When contacted,lawyer Mahrukh Adenwala said,“The only way to determine the actual age of the subject is through medical examinations and in this case,if the parents claim that he is a minor,they should apply for a medical examination.”

DCP Nisar Tamboli said,“From the documents we collected,the age of the accused is 19. The parents might claim he is a juvenile so as to avoid him being prosecuted under the provisions of the IPC. Regarding medical tests to determine the age of a person,the results are approximate and not always accurate.”

Mukeem Khan,18,a student of Rizvi College and a resident of a well-to-do locality in Khar west,had left his house at 9 am on Friday morning after informing his parents that he was going to meet his childhood friend,Jamal,who had promised to give him some important notes. Around 2 pm,Mukeem’s father,a garment businessman,received a call from Mukeem’s cellphone,demanding a ransom of Rs 2 lakh. The family immediately registered a case of kidnapping and after investigations,the police arrested Jamal on Monday night. They also found Mukeem’s body near a gutter in Kalina. Salim was arrested in Marol on Tuesday night.

Motive: Leak of question papers
The motive behind the kidnap of Mukeem Khan by his classmates was to collect money for leaking the question papers of the upcoming HSC examinations,according to investigators.

An investigator from the Khar police station said on conditions of anonymity,“From what Jamal has revealed during interrogation,he and his friend Salim had planned to use the ransom money to leak the question papers of the HSC exams.”

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