NEARLY TWO years after a sessions court sentenced a 30-year-old man to life imprisonment for abducting and killing the 13-year-old son of a diamond broker in 2013, the Bombay High Court granted him bail citing ‘credence’ in his appeal.
Vijesh Sanghvi was sentenced to life imprisonment on October 9, 2017, for the murder of Adit Ranka. Adit’s cousin, Himanshu Ranka, was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence by the sessions court.
Sanghvi was in jail since his arrest in 2013.
Police had claimed Sanghvi had kidnapped Adit from near his house in Khetwadi on May 13, 2013 and that he was brutally murdered in Raigad district. Sanghvi was found guilty of murder. Police claimed Adit was first attacked with a knife on his wrists and back. According to police, when Sanghvi noticed that Adit had not died despite the injuries, he lit a fire using grass and pushed him into it.
Among the witnesses who deposed in the trial were Adit’s mother Chandrika and brother. His father passed away before the trial began.
In his bail application, Sanghvi submitted that while police had alleged that the kidnapping was done for seeking ransom since he had incurred losses in betting on cricket matches, nothing was brought on record to prove it. The trial court had concluded that according to witnesses, it was established that Sanghvi had incurred losses of Rs 7 lakh in betting and was being pressured into giving the money.
Further, Sanghvi claimed in his bail plea that one of the circumstances against him was that the prosecutor claimed that he was the last person seen with Adit based on CCTV footage of a telecom gallery they had visited and hence was responsible for the crime. Sanghvi claimed that he and Adit had “reached there independently”.
He also said that while the CCTV footage of the toll naka was relied on to show that both Adit and he were together in a car, the footage does not clearly show the registration number clearly. He also claimed that two shopowners who had claimed to have seen Adit with Sanghvi before the murder were ‘planted’ and were made to identify Sanghvi before their statements were recorded.
Considering the submissions made by Sanghvi, the HC said, “This position on record therefore prima facie lends credence to case of applicant accused. We are therefore inclined to release him on bail.” Sanghvi has been directed to be available during pendency of the appeal against his conviction by the trial court. Police did not file an appeal against Himanshu’s acquittal.