Chennai: The Madras High Court has upheld the life sentence awarded by a lower court to five persons for abducting a college girl for ransom near Chennai in 2013.
The division bench comprising justices S Nagamuthu and Anita Sumanth, however, disapproved the Chennai's Vth additional sessions judge's decision to acquit the five of the charges of making an unlawful assembly under the IPC.
"It is not understandable as to why the trial court had acquitted all these five accused from the above charges under the IPC."
"There is overwhelming evidence to prove that all the accused were in an unlawful assembly and abducted the girl for ransom, it held.
"It is clearly established that all the five illegally confined the girl and attacked her," it said.
The case dates back to 2013 when the 21-year-old student of an engineering college near Chennai was abducted.
The prosecution case was that the girl was walking home after attending classes on December 23, 2013, when the accused approached her in a car, pushed her into it at knife point and sped away.
A case was subsequently lodged on the complaint of girl's father.
The accused had demanded Rs two crore ransom from the girl's father and asked him to bring the cash to Pallikaranai area here the following day.
The girl's father informed the police which formed a special team that followed the girl's father car in which he set off to deliver the money to the kidnappers. The police eventually nabbed the main accused as he approached the girl's father to collect the money.
Based on the information given by him, his four other accomplices too were arrested.
When the case came up for trial, the Vth additional sessions judge convicted all the five and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
The accused then moved the high court challenging the lower court's order.
The high court, however, dismissed their appeals and said "The minimum punishment prescribed under provisions of 364-A read with 149 IPC (abducting for ransom) is only imprisonment for life."
"We find no reason to interfere with the same," it said.