8 accused found guilty in shoe tycoon abduction case
Kolkata: The Additional Sessions Judge of Alipore Court on Friday found eight accused guilty in the abduction of Khadim's owner Parthapratim Roy Burman. Judge Arun Kiran Banerjee will deliver the quantum of punishment on Monday.
The eight accused who were found guilty include Azgar Khan, Dilshad Khan, Akhtar Hossain, Nayeem, Muzammel Sheikh, Noor Rahman, alias Alam, Mizanur Rahman and Akhtar, alias Palwan.
The shoe baron was abducted from CN Roy Road in Tiljala while he was on his way to his company's godown early on July 25, 2001 and was released after a reported ransom of Rs 3.75 crore.
Sources in the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said that the charge-sheet in the case contained statements of 68 witnesses, including former Chief Secretary Sourin Roy.
It may be mentioned that after the first phase of the trial, verdict was announced in May 2009 when the Alipore Court had awarded life sentence to five accused including Aftab Ansari. Ansari was a death convict in the terror attack at American Centre in Kolkata in January 2002 and had moved the Supreme Court, challenging the quantum.
In the first phase of the trial, there were as many as 139 witnesses. "Trial for the second phase was more difficult as the investigating agency had to ensure that the statement of the 68 witnesses who had deposed before the court in this, matched with the statement of those in the earlier phase," public prosecutor Nabakumar Ghosh said.
Interestingly, Roy Burman had not deposed in the first round of trial, which involved Ansari, but did so in the second.
It may be noted that three of the accused who were found guilty on Friday are Pakistani nationals and were tagged in this case only after 2011 as they were serving punishment in Delhi for some other case.
The entire trial was held in the Special Court inside Alipore Central Jail, in view of the sensitive nature of the case and the profile of the accused persons.
"The industrialist was declared hostile because he refused to depose in the first round of the trial. This was a severe blow to us. It took us a lot of time to ascertain the interstate connection of the gang before drawing up the charge-sheet," a senior CID officer said.
The family, however, still denies paying the ransom amount of Rs 3.75 crore for Roy Burman's release. The sleuths believe that Ansari had masterminded the abduction of the shoe baron.
He was kept confined in a house in North 24-Parganas for eight days. The abductors bargained with Roy Burman's family members and collected the ransom through a hawala channel for his release.