A special court, which on Thursday acquitted two persons accused of conspiring in 1988-’89 with two others to kill industrialist and then Bombay Dyeing chairman Nusli Wadia, said in its detailed judgment that the edifice of the prosecution case “crumbles” mainly due to “insufficiency” and “inappropriateness” of evidence due to which it “miserably failed” to prove charges against the accused.
No evidence that any money was given by Kirti Ambani and that it changed hands
The case concerns the conspiracy instigated by a now deceased senior executive Kirti Ambani of Reliance Industries Limited to eliminate Wadia due to a business rivalry. The two accused who got acquittal were allegedly paid for the job by another co-accused Arjun Babaria, who died pending trial who the main accused had engaged for the purpose.
The court said there is no evidence that Kirti Ambani was put to task by his superiors to either arrange, plan or execute the said conspiracy. Special Judge SP Naik-Nimbalkar said the ingredients of a criminal conspiracy are not proved beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution had shown evidence of birthday parties and functions attended by Kirti Ambani and Babaria to show their proximity. It said there is no evidence that their familiarity had ripened to do any criminal act. The CBI had also produced photo albums, telephone diaries and visiting cards. The court said “mere acquaintance” can be inferred from these and “nothing more, nothing less”. It further said that there is no evidence that any money was given by Ambani and that it changed hands.
No evidence that the suspects' familiarity had ripened to do any criminal act
As per the prosecution’s case, the accused had met for conspiracy meetings at two luxury hotels in the city. A number of employees of the hotels were examined during the trial. The court said there is no evidence from any of them of seeing the accused together at the respective hotels.
Authenticity of telephonic recordings produced as evidence is not proved beyond reasonable doubt
The CBI had also relied on telephonic calls between the accused. The court said these are not supported by authentication of their telephone numbers, calls logs, subscriber details etc and said the existence of the phone numbers was not demonstrated to certainty.
No evidence that Ambani was put to task by his superiors to either arrange, plan or execute the conspiracy
The court also noted that a certain audio cassette could not be played to dust formation on it. The cassette contained intercepted telephonic conversations between two accused. The court said the authenticity of telephonic recordings produced as evidence is not proved beyond reasonable doubt. It pointed out that the description of cassettes in terms of their makes and specifications had changed when the investigation was transferred from the CID to the CBI. The court said the burden was on the prosecution to prove that these were the same cassettes that were sealed initially.
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