The Bombay High Court has upheld the life sentence imposed on two friends Sandeep Kamble and Nitin Samudre for kidnapping a 5-year-old boy and demanding ransom in 2010 in Pune observing that the prosecution proved its case beyond doubt and established a chain of events.
A division bench of justices SS Shinde and Sarang Kotwal on April 7, upheld the life sentences imposed on Sandeep and Nitin observing: “Therefore, there is no reason to interfere in the conviction and sentence recorded against the accused persons.”
The judges, however, acquitted Kamble’s brother, Bharat, and mother, Vimal, giving them the benefit of doubt. They were sentenced to three years of imprisonment as the police recovered the ransom money from the house, which was shared by Sandeep with his brother and mother.
The HC was hearing two different appeals – one by Kamble and Samudre and the other by Bharat and Vimal, challenging their conviction by sessions court at Pune on December 27, 2012.
The prosecution claimed that Kamble and Samudre abducted the five-and-half-year old boy from Raja Shivaji Nagar, Chinchwad, on the morning of April 09, 2010, in an Indica car.
Phone calls were made to the boy’s mother on a few occasions and Rs 15 lakhs were demanded as ransom for his release. The mother could arrange Rs 6 lakhs. She was asked to board a local train and to throw the bag containing money at a particular spot.
Meanwhile, the boy’s uncle informed the police as well. A tracking device was kept in the money bag. The police even marked the first and the last note in the bundles of money.
With the help of the tracking device, the police traced the money to a house that Kamble used to stay in with his brother and mother. Upon searching, Rs 5.85 lakh were recovered by the police and arrested all four.
On April 12, 2010, the boy reached his house alone at around 7.45 pm. He was inconsolable and hid under the staircase.
The prosecution examined 28 witnesses. The boy had identified Kamble and Samudre during an identification parade at the Yerawada Central prison.
Bharat and Vimal’s advocate argued that the sessions court had acquitted from charges of kidnapping. Seeking quashing of their conviction for concealing stolen property, their advocate argued that the cash was recovered from the house which was jointly occupied by these two along with Kamble.
Whereas Kamble's advocate argued that there was no reliable evidence against him. Besides, the boy had not identified him in court during the trial.
Dismissing this argument, the court said the boy was merely five years when kidnapped and was eight years when he was examined before the trial court.
Samudre’s advocate contended that there is nothing showing a connection between him and Kamble. The prosecution has claimed that the boy was kidnapped in an Indica car, driven by Kamble. According to eyewitnesses, Samudre was not in the said car.