September 27, 2011 1:09:35 am
A Gautam Budh Nagar sessions court on Monday sentenced three persons to life imprisonment,besides fining them Rs 25,000 each,for the kidnapping of Anant Gupta,son of Adobe CEO Naresh Gupta,in 2006. Anant was three years old at the time.
Anant was kidnapped from the vicinity of his Noida Sector-15 house while he was waiting for the Lotus Valley school bus on November 14,2006. On November 17,2006,the Uttar Pradesh police arrested the accused and recovered Rs 50 lakh that had been paid as ransom. They were identified as Chatrapal and Jitender,both hailing from Bairana in Uttar Pradesh,and Pawan from Sekhda in Hardoi.
On Friday,sitting judge Navin Srivastava had let off four others in the case Sunil,Bir Singh,Ramdayal and Birsinghs wife Santosh for lack of evidence. The three convicted persons have been held guilty under Section 364(A) (kidnapping for ransom) and Section 368 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code.
While sentencing the three convicts,the court in a 46-page judgement referred to a 2010 Supreme Court order that had adopted a stringent view of kidnapping for ransom. Statistics reveal that kidnapping for ransom has become a lucrative and thriving industry across the country,and it must be dealt with in the harshest possible manner. The obligation rests on courts as well, the apex court had noted as it upheld the death sentence of two men for kidnapping and murdering Abhi Verma,a 16-year-old student of DAV School in Hoshiarpur,Punjab,in February 2005. Abhi,the son of a goldsmith,was abducted from outside his school on February 14,2005,and killed after the kidnappers found that his father could not afford to pay Rs 50 lakh as ransom. He was his only son.
The court also took into consideration certain mitigating circumstances in handing out life imprisonment to the three accused. It noted that the three did not have a history sheet,and were very young when the crime was committed. While Chatrapal was 18 years of age in 2006,Pawan and Jitender were 19 and 20 years old respectively. It also took into consideration that Jitender had a family,including a five-year-old son,to support. The punishment prescribed under Section 364(A) is either the death penalty or life imprisonment with fine.
While members of the public prosecution team were satisfied with the verdict,defence lawyers said they would appeal against the judgement in the High Court. Vinod Kumar Solanki,Jitenders lawyer,said,Nothing is final yet and we will go to the court of appeal.
The proceedings were attended by the family of the accused,but Anants family found no representation.
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