NEW DELHI: Former Uttar Pradesh MLA Udai Bhan Singh and five others were today acquitted in a 2003 murder case by a Delhi court which said the CBI had "failed" to prove that they had hatched a conspiracy to kill the victim.
"In the considered opinion that out of 12 circumstances, the prosecution has failed to prove 11 circumstances and has only succeeded in establishing that Udai Bhan Singh may have had possible motive to kill Rakesh Kumar Pandey.
"I, accordingly, find that the prosecution has failed to prove that the accused had hatched a conspiracy pursuant to which Rakesh Kumar Pandey was killed," Special CBI Judge Parveen Singh said while acquitting the accused.
CBI had alleged that the accused had allegedly conspired and hired two criminals to kill Pandey, the eye-witness in a triple murder case, on February 17, 2003 at at Sant Ravidas Nagar district near Varanasi.
Pandey, who had refused to accept Rs five lakh for not deposing in the triple murder case, was threatened and later shot dead allegedly at the behest of Udai Bhan, CBI had said, adding that two others had also sustained bullet injuries in the incident.
The court found several lapses in the investigation conducted by the CBI in the case.
"I find that the CBI can't be allowed to take advantage of the lapse on the part of its own officer who had illegally withheld the collected evidence from the court," it said, adding that this also deprived the rights of the defence.
The court also said that CBI did not bother to examine the alleged informer who was an important witness in the case.
The case was transferred to Delhi from Uttar Pradesh by the Supreme Court on March 28, 2008 on the ground that fair trial was not possible in the state against the accused.
The court had earlier framed charges against the accused under various provisions of IPC dealing with murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and intimidation.
Initially, the then MLA and nine others were arraigned as accused. However, three accused -- Santosh Kumar Singh, Vinod Kumar Singh and Bashir Khan -- died during pendency of trial and co accused, Kallu, was declared a proclaimed offender.
Besides the former MLA, the others facing trial in the case were Sandeep Singh, Ashok Mishra, Raj Nath Mishra, Mabud Khan and Vishal Singh.