“ Children were abducted and kept in a tunnel for over 5 months and anonymous calls were made for ransom.”
Appellant was employed at the telephone booth of Nusrat Bano, Mother of 3 of those Children. He was removed from service for ‘bad conduct’. In retaliation, Appellant occasionally made an inebriated threat or two to Nusrat’s Husband, Ziauddin. Nusrat’s Brother, Taki, found his Child abducted too. On the fated day, Taki thought, ‘who could it be’? Taki filed an FIR; said, Appellant had a role to play in the disappearance of the Children; said, Appellant was seen in the locality riding a cycle. There was a price to pay. Ziauddin received calls anonymous calls for ransom.
By God’s grace, the Children, returned home safe after 5 excruciating months. The oldest was 8 and the youngest, 3. They recounted how they were ‘chained’, ‘beaten up’, ‘burnt with candle’; But they never saw Appellant in the tunnel. There were others. Quite a few of them, in fact. But never Appellant. The anonoymous calls were never traced, either.
Trial Court found Appellant: Guilty. High Court found Appellant: Guilty. Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Md. Faizan Ahmad @ Kalu v. State of Bihar, [(2013) 2 SCC 131] found Appellant: Not Guilty.
Hon’ble Justice Aftab Alam spoke:
“FIR is based only on suspicion”.
“Even if the story that he used to give threats to the prosecution witnesses and demand his dues is accepted, it does not further the prosecution case.”
“There is no evidence on record to establish that infuriated by his removal from service and non-payment of dues, Appellant masterminded the plot to abduct the Children or played any active role in abducting them.”
“If a telephone call was received making ransom demand and making grievance about alleged ill-treatment of Appellant, Police should have traced the calls and identified the caller. Police have failed to do so.”
“Criminal Courts recognize only legally admissible evidence and not farfetched conjectures and surmises”.
“High Court’s observation, there was a pre-conceived plan to abduct the Children would not be applicable to Appellant because there is nothing on record to establish Appellant met co-accused and planned a strategy to abduct the Children and demand ransom.”
“The basic principle underlying criminal jurisprudence is that suspicion, however grave, cannot take the place of proof. If a Criminal Court allows its mind to be swayed by the gravity of the offence and proceeds to hand out punishment on that basis, in the absence of any credible evidence, it would be doing great violence to the basic tenets of criminal jurisprudence.”
“The seriousness or gravity of the crime must not influence Court to punish a person against whom there is no credible evidence.”
“We hope and trust that this is just an aberration”.
“Appellant – Md. Faizan Ahmad @ Kalu is ordered to be released forthwith.”