The Delhi High Court has acquitted a man charged with murdering an 11-year-boy as the prosecution failed to produce corroborative proof.

The trial court had held the accused, Shahnawaz alias Sonu, guilty of the crime and sentenced him to life imprisonment solely on the basis of the last seen evidence by the victim’s mother and another witness. They said they had seen the accused and the victim proximate to the place where he was murdered and to the time before he was stabbed to death.

Significantly, while acquitting the accused, the High Court also noted that the trial court had acquitted two other accused in the case dismissing the last seen evidence given by the other witness but he relied on his statement to convict Shahnawaz.

The police also failed to prove any of the three motives which it had propounded for the victim’s murder.

The prosecution also failed to prove that the relation between the accused and the victim was sour. The charge of hatching of a conspiracy against the three accused to eliminate the victim was also rejected by the trial court.

Acquitting the accused, a Division Bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice Indermeet Kaur said:

“Taking overall view of the facts and circumstances of the present case, we are of the view that the prosecution has failed to prove its case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt and therefore, we do not find ourselves in agreement with the judgment passed by the learned trial court holding the appellant guilty for committing an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.”

The prosecution had charged the accused with murdering the victim when they were together on way to a gymnasium in the Jaffarabad area in North-East Delhi in 2004. The body was found lying near an elevated road on a drain by a passer-by who had later reported it to the local police.