Adnan murder: 'They are never going to live happily'
A Mumbai sessions court on Monday acquitted all four young boys accused of kidnapping and murdering their friend Adnand Patrawala in August, 2007. Rediff.com's Toral Varia Deshpande reports.
Her face was covered in a hijab revealing her teary and pain struck eyes. Lubina Patrawala could not hold back her anger and broke into tears on being asked for her reaction on the session's court verdict. On August 19, 2007, Lubina and Aslam Patrawala's 16-years-old son Adnan was allegedly kidnapped and killed by four accused accompanied by another under 18 boy. Over four years later, parents of Adnan are shocked and have decided to appeal against the acquittal granted by the session's court.
Answering to queries by mediapersons on his first reactions, Aslam Patrawala said, "I am completely shocked. The only thing that comes to my mind at this point is that someone somewhere has been influenced by someone. How else can you explain this? There has definitely been some tampering! In the last four years we have helped the police in every possible way we can. I have also been in regular contact with the police and Advocate Ujjwal Nikam." Nikam was the special public prosecutor in the case.
The prosecution's case was that Adnan, son of a businessman in suburban Andheri, was allegedly kidnapped by these five "friends" on August 19, 2007, after he went to meet them in Inorbit Mall in Malad in his father's Skoda car.
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Image: File image of Adnan Patrawala
'We are not going to stop fighting'
The five, who had befriended Patrawala through a social networking site, then asked the victim to drive with them to suburban Kandivli. They allegedly spiked a drink he was made to have. They strangled the 16-year-old to death in Navi Mumbai after their plan to extort Rs 2 crore as ransom went awry as news of the kidnapping had broken on TV and the police launched a manhunt for them, it said.
Subsequently, Patrawala's body was found in his car on Palm Beach Road in Vashi.
Charges of kidnap, murder, extortion and destruction of evidence were framed against all the youths in June 2009.
On being asked whether he believes that the case has been bungled by the police or the prosecution at any stage, Aslam said, "I cannot comment on what the cops should have done and have not done. But it was not as if the evidence was collected months after the incident happened. In fact the boys themselves led me to the location in Navi Mumbai from where the police collected evidence, like the rope, etc. And if a person like Advocate Ujjwal Nikam can be satisfied with the charge sheet, who am I to say anything?"
Aslam felt that the defence lawyers were lying when they said that the police had not been able to successfully bring on the record the call details of the number to which the ransom call for Rs 2 crore was made. "They are lying. I have myself given all the call records, of every single phone, with name and number. How can they say that it's not been brought on record?" questioned Aslam.
For both Lubina and Aslam, it's the biggest loss of their life. "Even if this court has not given us justice, there is a bigger court above all the courts. Justice will definitely prevail. We are not going to stop fighting. God knows what the truth is and He will give us justice. They (the accused) are never going to live happily," said Aslam.
The victim's parents plan to consult their family lawyer and figure out what should be the next logical step. "I am going to talk to my sister who is a lawyer herself. We will put our heads together and figure out what went wrong where, and then take the next step," said Aslam.
Image: Aslam and Lubina Patrawala speak to the media in Mumbai on Monday
Photographs: Sahil Salve
'It took some time, but in the end truth came out'
Meanwhile there was a look of relief on the faces of relatives of all the four youths who were accused of killing 16-years-old Adnan Patrawala.
The accused youths Sujith Nair, Rajeev Dharaiya, Ayush Bhat and Amit Kaushal were all acquitted by sessions judge AS Deshmukh. While Aslam Patrawala was not present in the court during the judgment, families of the accused stood vigil outside the court room.
After the verdict Ayush Bhat's father Arun said, "We are very relieved. For four years we were hoping that truth will prevail. We had a lot of trust in god, and now we trust judiciary too. All the allegations levelled against us were false. It took some time, but in the end truth came out."
He added that, "We used to think that everything in judiciary works with money. But that's the not case. Everything has happened and it's happened for good."
Image: Accused Ayush Bhat's father Arun Bhat (in blue shirt) and Yash Bhat (in green shirt) speaking to mediapersons outside the sessions court in Mumbai on Monday
Photographs: Sahil Salve