Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 16:
After eight long years of trial, the Additional District Judge Court-II here today pronounced the verdict in the mines trader Rashmi Ranjan Mohapatra kidnap and murder case and sentenced top Odisha gangster Hyder and two of his associates– Bhabani Shankar and Sarat Sahoo– to life-imprisonment.
The court also awarded 10 years imprisonment to two other accused- Ganapati Ray and Jajati while acquitting six persons due to lack of evidence in the sensational murder case.
While the cops had registered cases against 14 accused including prime accused Hyder, the court had recorded the statement of 46 witnesses in the case. Out of the 14 accused, 11 were facing trials. While five of them have been convicted, six have been acquitted.
While Hyder’s juvenile son Chunni alias Nasir Akhtar, who received the ransom, is yet to face trial, two others are still on the run.
“Hyder and two others have been sentenced to life imprisonment under section 364. We proved in the court that Hyder planned and managed the entire kidnapping episode from Jharpada jail. The receipt of the money was also proved in the court,” said Public Prosecutor Sudhanshu Sekhar Swain.
“The other six were acquitted as we were not able to produce concrete evidence against them. The court agreed that there is grave suspicion against them. However, it is not a case beyond reasonable doubt. The state of Odisha will file an appeal against the other six in the upper court,” he added.
It may be noted that Rashmi, a mines trader of Keonjhar, had been kidnapped from Sahid Nagar area in Bhubaneswar on May 27, 2007. The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of Rs 2 crore from his family members and had been paid Rs 1 crore by his family members for his release.
His abductors, however, went on to shoot him to death. The investigating cops later discovered two half-charred bodies from Jamshedpur area and his identity was established through DNA testing.