Those convicts sentenced to life imprisonment are Prasad Jagannath Shetty (32), Chhotu alias Arvindbhai Bhiku Dayaram Thanki (46), Vithhalbhai Patel alias Chowdhary (36), Jitendra Shantilal Modha (39), Chhotu Ghisaiwaala alias Ravitsingh Bhadoriya alias Rajput (32) and Nitin Shantilal Modha (33), all residents of Gujarat.
Accused Shantilal Modha (66) of Porbandar had died during the trial. Accused Narayan Jameria (47), who turned approver, was acquitted along with four others, Jagmalsingh Choudhary of Vadodara, Rajasthan, Samantbhai Gadhvi, Ajay Fadhvi and Dinesh Tukddia, all from Gujarat. All four were drivers of the vehicles used by the accused and were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
Sagar, son of Nigdi businessman Satinder Sahani, was kidnapped on the night of August 14, 2005 from a spot near Dr Ambedkar Chowk in Pimpri. The kidnappers had demanded Rs 2-crore ransom.
After negotiating with Dubai-based gangster Ali Bhai, the family had paid Rs 15 lakh in Mumbai. But Sagar was murdered on August 25, 2005 in Gujarat a day after the money was paid and transferred to Dubai through hawala.
The Pune police had arrested 11 persons for their alleged involvement in the murder. Meanwhile, two more accused — Shamshuddin Mohammad Kunni (36) of Kerala and Aftab Alam Mohammad Ayyub Alam (37) of Uttar Pradesh are still absconding. Another accused Sayyad Abid Hussain alias Ali Bhai (33), who is from Dubai is in Hyderabad and a separate trial is going on for him.
The prosecution had pleaded for death sentence for the accused. The judge said the case was not the rarest of the rare and hence does not qualify for capital punishment to the convicts.
A team of about 40 policemen led by deputy commissioner of police Sanjay Jadhav, assistant commissioner Dilip Shinde, police inspector Rajendra Joshi investigated the case.
Expected death sentence: father
Sagar’s father said he was expecting death sentence for accused Nitin Lodha, Prasad Shetty and Jitendra Modha. “But I am satisfied with the verdict. Imprisonment for life is also not less and I hope that convicts would remain in jail for the rest of their lives.”
Will spend time in bhajan-kirtan: Approver
“I realised that I committed a mistake after the murder. So I decided to take the path of truth and hence became an approver,” said Narayan Jameria. “I got threats from the accused but I did not back off. I have spent last seven years and three months in Yerawada jail. Of these, I spent five years in Anda cell. I am satisfied with the court order. I am happy that court has acquitted me. My time to work and earn money is over. I will go back to my native place in Gujarat and spend time in bhajan-kirtan,” he said.