A two-judge division bench, comprising Justices S Nagamuthu and Anita Sumanth, observed that the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubts and upheld an order of the V Additional Sessions Judge dated December 9, 2016, convicting and sentencing the five accused Palanisamy, Loganathan, Rajamani, Murugan and Karthik to life imprisonment.
The bench while dismissing the appeal of the five accused against the lower court order said, “All the accused had acted in concert to demand and receive ransom of rupees two crores. We, therefore, hold that the prosecution has clearly established that the girl was abducted by all the five accused for ransom and she was kept in illegal confinement at the house of Palanisamy, the key accused in the case, at Pozhichallur. The trial court was thus right in convicting all the five accused for offence under section 364 A (kidnapping for ransom) read with 149 (unlawful assembly) IPC”.
According to the prosecution, the woman student was doing her final year B Tech in a private engineering college and used to travel by college bus both to and from the institution. On December 23, 2013, when she was walking to her house in Adyar after alighting from the college bus, the accused intercepted and dumped the student into a car and kidnapped her. Later, she was taken to a house at Pozhichallur. Subsequently, the abductors called her father from her mobile phone and demanded a ransom of Rs 2 crore to release his daughter.
Acting on a complaint from the girl’s father, the police laid a trap and caught Palanisamy, one of the accused, when he approached a stationary car near Pallikaranai, the spot informed to the girl’s father to pay the money. Based on his confession, the police arrested his four accomplices and also rescued the girl then. The trial court convicted all the five and awarded life term for kidnapping for ransom, but acquitted them from the charges of unlawful assembly, voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful confinement.
Aggrieved, the accused filed the appeals challenging the lower court order and the victim also filed an appeal against their acquittal from the three charges.
Pulling up the trial court for acquitting the accused from the three charges, the bench said, “We are surprised by the said conclusion arrived at by the trial court. The trial court has come to the conclusion that all the five were in an assembly and abducted the girl for ransom”.