A Sessions Court on Monday acquitted Himanshu Ranka for the 2013 abduction and murder of his cousin, Aditya Ranka, 13, the son of diamond merchant Jeetendra Ranka. The court cited lack of evidence as the reason for Himanshu's acquittal. However, his friend Vijesh Sanghavi was convicted for the crime.
Sources from the VP Road police said that both the accused had lost about Rs 6 lakh by betting on IPL matches. On May 13, 2013, the duo kidnapped Aditya for a ransom of Rs 30 lakh but killed the boy in panic after the Ranka family approached the police.
Special Public Prosecutor Kalpana Chavan examined 40 witnesses, including bookies and two witnesses who saw the boy with Vijesh. CCTV footage from a Vodafone gallery at Sion also showed Vijesh with Aditya.
Vijesh took the boy to Raigad, near the banks of Amba River. He slashed the boy's wrist with a knife and stabbed him in the chest and stomach, and also hit his head with a rock. He laid the injured victim on the ground and set him on fire. However, as he had limited fuel, the boy was still alive. Sanghvi later dumped his body near Panvel on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Even though there were call logs between Vijesh and Himanshu, it couldn't prove their conspiracy. Bookies who deposed in court said that it was Vijesh who owed them money, but refused to identify Himanshu, which is why the case against him fell weak. The prosecution blamed the police for shoddy investigations.
Aditya's mother was present in court throughout the trial. A close relative told this reporter, "Today, a lot of Aditya's school friends and their parents had come. We are all disappointed with the judgment."
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