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Nine years on, Gulgee murder trial remains inconclusive

KARACHI: Despite the passage of nine years since the murder of renowned artist Ismail Gulgee, his wife and their maid, the trial of the triple murder case is still waiting to meet the ends of justice, it emerged on Friday.

The deceased’s driver, Akram Ali, and a servant, Anwar, have been charged with allegedly strangulating to death Gulgee, his wife, Zareen, and their maid, Asiya, in their Clifton house on Dec 19, 2007.

The decomposed bodies, which were identified through a DNA test, were found days after the incident. The driver and the servant had gone missing along with a car of the deceased artist. Both the suspects were arrested in Feb 2008 and since then they have been languishing in prison.

The triple murder case is at the stage of final arguments for the past two years before an additional district and sessions court (south). The court had recorded the statements of the accused and fixed the case for final arguments after the prosecution rested its side in 2015 by examining over 10 witnesses, including complainant Amin Gulgee, the son of the slain artist.
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The next hearing of the case is due on Feb 6

However, the prosecution moved an application asking the court to summon a DNA expert from Islamabad and record his evidence. The court had allowed the application and recorded his testimony in early 2016 and again fixed the case for concluding arguments.

The additional district and sessions judge-VIII (south) had heard final arguments from both sides a couple of months ago, but could not reserve the verdict since the prosecutor sought a chance to rebut the arguments of defence lawyers.

Now, the case is fixed for Feb 6 for rebuttal arguments of the prosecutor.

Court sources said that frequent transfer of the trial judges, unnecessary applications seeking adjournments on part of the prosecution and delay in the production of witnesses were the key reasons behind an inordinate delay in the disposal of the case.

The court had provided lawyers to the accused persons on state expense after they submitted that they could not engage their counsel because of poor financial condition.

According to the prosecution, renowned artist Gulgee and his wife, with their maid, were found dead in their house on Dec 19, 2007. The car of the legendary artist was found abounded in Defence Housing Authority The police had arrested the accused in February 2008 from a hotel near the Cantonment railway station and claimed that during interrogation they confessed to have killed the trio in order to rob the house.

The prosecution maintained that the police had also recovered a suitcase with precious paintings of the deceased artist and other stolen articles were found in their possession.

They had planned to rob the house since the couple was out for a dinner but killed them when they returned home. They also strangled the maid to death when she came the following day since the victim failed to inform them where the rest of the money was kept, it added.

The police registered a case at the Boat Basin police station under Section 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the deceased artist’s son.

courtesy : dawn news

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