Staff Reporter

"Trial court verdict based only on the assumption that the appellants are guilty"

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday acquitted underworld don Babloo Srivastava and his co-accused, businessman Nitin Shah, in the Lalit Kumar Suneja murder case.

The Delhi police had charged the two with entering into a conspiracy to kill Suneja, an employee of Nitin Shah, when the two (Shah and Suneja) had failed to settle a financial dispute between them.

Suneja was murdered at Shakarpur in East Delhi in August 1992.

Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar of the Karkardooma courts here had last year sentenced the two to life imprisonment, holding them guilty of the conspiracy and hiring two contract killers Virender Pant and Manish Dixit to eliminate Suneja.

Setting aside the trial court judgment, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice R. S. Sodhi and Justice P. K. Bhasin said: "It appears that the trial court has based its judgment only on the assumption that the appellants, Srivastava and Shah, are guilty, and this, with great respect to the trial judge, is not the correct perspective of law."

"The law requires the prosecution to prove its case beyond the shadow of doubt,'' the Bench added.

Charge sheet

In the charge sheet, the police had said that accused Shah had requested his friend Srivastava to eliminate Suneja offering to bear the costs likely to be incurred on carrying out the act.

Srivastava then hired Virender Pant and Manjit Dixit to carry out the job, it said.