Srinagar: Four persons including two brothers, accused of double murder, were acquitted by a local court here after the prosecution failed to prove charges against them.
The twin murder, according to police, had taken place at the residence of Kashmir’s top hotelier, Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya, here more than seven years ago.
“It can safely be held that prosecution has remained unsuccessful to prove allegations of committing of murder of Abdul Aziz Mir and Mushtaq Ahmad Chopan and destroying of any evidence (by them) beyond all reasonable doubts,” 1st Additional Session Judge Srinagar, Subash C Gupta, said while acquitting the accused, Nazir Ahmad Thokar, his brother Manzoor Ahmad Thokar, Bashir Ahmad Mir and Zahid Ahmad Mir.
Subsequently, the court ordered to release from jail forthwith all the accused, who were represented by Kashmir’s known criminal lawyer, advocate Abdullah Pandit.
As per the police, on April 16, 2007, it recovered two bodies lying in Gunny bags at Kursoo Rajbagh Bund here.
A case FIR (25/2007) under section 302 RPC was registered at police station Rajbagh and investigation taken up.
Later, the bodies were identified as that of Abdul Aziz Mir of Muran Tangwari Chandoosa Baramulla and Mushtaq Ahmad Chopan of Quilmuqam Bandipora.
Based on phone details, police claimed cracking the case, involving criminal conspiracy with an ultimate aim to turn rich overnight by four persons.
Addressing reporters, then SSP city had said that investigation revealed that Mir was running a small stationery shop at Boniyar Uri while Mushtaq Ahmad Chopan had a failed business of poultry and used to visit across valley particularly Kupwara district to collect money which retailers owed him.
“During Chopan’s business trip, he came across Zahid Hussain Mir alias Bitta son of Ghulam Qadir Mir of Darpora Lolab Kupwara, who lured him for entering into transaction whereby he would have given him one million Euro note and a mysterious crystal of great value against a payment of Rs 10 lakhs,” the SSP had said.
Chopan, the SSP said, discussed the deal with Abdul Aziz and both agreed to go through the transaction.
“In the meanwhile, Zahir Hussain Mir entered into a criminal conspiracy with Nazir Ahmad Thoker and his brother Manzoor Ahmad Thoker sons of Lassi Muhammad Thoker of Halpora Wailoo Anantnag and Bashir Ahmad Mir son of Muhammad Abdullah Mir of Darpora Lolab Kupwara who posed as businessmen in possession of the foreign currency and the crystal so that the duo could be brought along with money and looted,” the SSP said.
Subsequently, on April 14 both Abdul Aziz Mir and Mushtaq Ahmad Chopan were asked by Zahid Hussain to come to Rajbagh were they were murdered.
The lid over the conspiracy, as per police, was actually lifted following inquiry into call details on Mir’s mobile number.
“It was found that some unidentified persons had made contact with Mir on landline number belonging to Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya.”
During the course of investigation, police said, the house was raided and among others, Bashir Ahmad Mir and Nazir Ahmad Thokar were arrested.
“On interrogation of the (duo), they said that on April 14 2007, no one of family member of Chaya was available at the residence. Nazir called his brother, Manzoor Ahmad Thokur at Kursoo Rajbagh. In the meantime, Zahid Hussain received a phone call at 1849 hours on the land line phone of Chaya from the mobile phone belonging to Abdul Aziz Mir,” police said,
Subsequently, Aziz and Chopan were called to the house and made to stay in the servant rooms, police said.
“Thereafter, sleeping tablets were mixed in their meals and after eating it, they became unconscious. At the same time, (they) were murdered by throttling their throats and gagging their mouth with a piece of cloth.”
Thereafter, police said, bodies were searched by the accused and only Rs. 1800 were found in their pockets.
“However, bodies were kept hiding in the house on that day and on next day, on April 15 2007, they were carried in a Maruti Van and thrown on Khursoo Bund.”
As Police said that the accused Bashir Ahmad Mir and Nazir Ahmad Thokur had made disclosure statements before them, Court doubted it and observed that under provisions of section 25 of Evidence Act, confession made to the police officer cannot be used as evidence against the accused. “Confession made by a person accused of offence cannot be made admissible as a piece of evidence against him,” the court said.
During identification parade, court said both prime witnesses failed to identify the accused. “So it remains doubtful that those were the accused and they made confessional statements as to committing of murder of deceased.”