Vishal Yadav, serving life term along with his cousin Vikas for killing Nitish Katara in 2002, on Thursday told the Delhi high court that an "atrocious" charge of kidnapping had been framed by the trial judge despite the fact that the victim was a major and contemplating marriage.
"An absurd charge of kidnapping had been framed against Vishal and others. This is an atrocious charge and it is shocking that a judge does not know the difference between kidnapping and abduction. Kidnapping deals with minors and Nitish was major and contemplating marriage," senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for Vishal, told the court.
Pointing out the alleged fault in the charges framed against the accused, the lawyer said, "I (my client) must be acquitted of the kidnapping charges and this acquittal will have tremendous bearing on other subsequent charges (of murder and destruction of evidence)."
Referring to the Indian Penal Code, Jethmalani said the offence of abduction, which deals with adults, has two ingredients -- use of force or deceitful means in the commission of crime.
"It is not the case of the prosecution that I forcibly took Nitish away from the marriage party and it was also not proved that the accused asked the victim to accompany them by using deceitful means," he said, adding that the charge "must fail" without further argument on the issue.
"If the charge fails, the whole case goes," the counsel said.
"The judgement is as ambiguous as it can be," he said.
According to the trial court verdict, Vikas and Vishal took away Nitish from a marriage party at Ghaziabad on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 and later killed him with the help of third accused Sukhdev Pehalwan.
The cousins were against the affair of their sister Bharti Yadav with the victim, it had said.
The arguments in the case remained inconclusive and would resume on July 31.
Earlier, Jethmalani had said that the allegation that Vishal was involved in the offence was wrong as there was no "admissible and legal evidence" against him.
"The only evidence in the case is prejudice and rest is non-existent," he said.
The Yadavs were convicted in 2008 by the trial court for kidnapping and later murdering Nitish Katara, son of an IAS officer.