The Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed the conviction and sentencing of two persons for kidnapping and murdering the 12-year-old son of their former employer in 2012, saying the prosecution failed to prove their involvement in the crime "beyond reasonable doubt".
A division bench of Justices BP Dharmadhikari and Swapna Joshi allowed the appeals filed by Imtiyaz Shaikh and Azad Ansari, both aged 27, challenging their May, 2018, conviction by a sessions court.
While the court had sentenced Shaikh to capital punishment, Ansari was sentenced to life imprisonment.
While allowing their pleas, the high court noted that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the case against the two.
The bench also observed the prosecution was unable to prove that the numbers from which calls were made to the boy's father were indeed used by the accused persons.
"The prosecution has failed to establish by way of satisfactory evidence that the ransom calls were made by the accused persons," the bench stated.
According to prosecution, Shaikh and Ansari allegedly kidnapped the son of their former employer, who owns an embroidery unit in Mumbai, on May 27, 2012 to avenge their sacking from the job.
They allegedly strangled the boy to death on the same night after taking him to Bhiwandi in neighbouring Thane district.
The two then allegedly called up the boy's father the next day demanding a ransom of Rs 25 lakh.
Police tracked down the accused from the location of their mobile phone and arrested them.