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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Punjab abduction case: Five sentenced to life in prison for demanding ransom in Bitcoin

It was the first of its kind case in Punjab when the kidnappers had asked for the payment of ransom in Bitcoins for physical kidnapping. The court also slapped a fine of Rs. 50,000 on all the accused.

Written by Jagdeep Singh Deep | Mohali |
April 24, 2021 5:04:00 am
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Mohali district court convicted five persons to life imprisonment in connection with a four-year-old kidnapping case of a commission agent from Banur. It was the first of its kind case in Punjab when the kidnappers had asked for the payment of ransom in Bitcoins for physical kidnapping. The court also slapped a fine of Rs. 50,000 on all the accused.

The court of Devinder Kumar Gupta, the Additional Districts and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), held Deepak Sharma, Mandeep Singh, Sukhdev Singh alias Laddu, Balraj Singh and Amritpal Singh, guilty for the commission of the offences under Sections 364-A (Whoever kidnaps or abducts any person or keeps a person in detention after such kidnapping or abduction, and threatens to cause death), 365 (Whoever kidnaps or abducts any person with intent to cause that person to be secretly and wrongfully confined), 384 (extortion), 482 (using a false property mark) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) read with Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act read with Section 120-B of IPC. An accused Malkit Singh was also discharged from the case in February 2018.

The court ordered that all the substantive sentences will run concurrently and the period of detention, already undergone by the convicts, during the course of investigation or trial will be set off against the sentence of imprisonment.

“After having considered the submissions made by the convicts, defence counsels, Public Prosecutor for the State assisted by learned counsel for the complainant and taking into account the facts and circumstances of the case and also antecedents of the convicts, it is not found to be a ‘rarest of rare’ case warranting the awarding of capital punishment. So, considering all the facts and circumstances of the case, ends of justice will be met,” the court ordered.

The FIR in the case was registered on the basis of the statement of Ashwani Jain, brother of the victim Ashu Jain. Ashwani Jain is a commission agent at Banur Grain Market and stated that the shop of victim Ashu Jain, who is also a commission agent, is situated in the same area and is about four to five shops away from his shop.

The complainant alleged that on May 30 at about 11:00 am, victim Ashu Jain, brother of the complainant, received a phone call from an unidentified person. It was further alleged that after some time of receiving the phone call, a Brezza car of grey colour stopped at about 50 meters from the victim’s shop, two unidentified persons got down from the car and called the victim after which, the victim went and sat in the car along with them.

The complainant further said that after he went back home, his nephew Arpan, son of victim Ashu Jain told him that the victim had not come home since morning and his mobile numbers were also switched off.

It was further alleged that the complainant could not get any information regarding the whereabouts of the victim. The complainant further alleged that victim Ashu Jain was kidnapped by the two unidentified persons for ransom.

Later, the accused demanded a ransom of Rs five crore from the family of Ashu Jain through Bitcoin. The accused had kept Jain at a house in Amritsar.

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