The Delhi High Court awarded life imprisonment to three men, who had kidnapped a youth for a ransom of Rs 25 lakh, murdered him and set his body on fire along the bank of a canal in North Delhi in 2012, observing that “the horrific act” reflects the “inhuman extent to which the accused could go to satisfy their greed”.
A bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal further observed that based on the “gruesome manner” in which they killed 19-year-old Shivam Kapoor and “dealt with his body, we unhesitatingly say the abhorrent act of the appellants (convicts) has definitely shocked our judicial conscience”.
The court, however, did not concur with the trial court’s findings on the woman convict, who was also awarded a life term for the murder, and observed that since the murder charge was not framed against her by the trial court itself, so punishment for the offence “without a substantive charge is unwarranted.”
Still, the woman will have to serve the life sentence, as she and others were handed the life sentence for the offence of criminal conspiracy. The court directed her to surrender before the trial court within four weeks as she was out on bail in the matter.
The woman, Mahima Dewan, and other convicts — Runeet Gulati , Abhay Dewan and Jatin — were handed varying jail terms on the charge of kidnapping and destruction of evidence in the case.
The HC verdict came on an appeal filed by the four against the trial court’s September 2018 order convicting and sentencing them to life imprisonment for the kidnapping and murder of the youth, besides other charges proved against the four.
According to police, on the intervening night of July 17-18, 2012, Shivam, a B Com student, was lured into a car by Runeet, who had topped his batch at a well-known hotel management institute in Bangalore.
After the kidnapping went awry, Shivam was shot dead and his body burnt near a canal in Maurya Enclave, near Pitampura.
The convicts had sought acquittal on the ground that the prosecution was unable to establish the motive, and claimed the case was based on circumstantial evidence. But the HC ruled that the “prosecution has succeeded in establishing its case”.