Phagwara, Apr 9 : Two Sudanese and a Tanzanian student have been acquitted in the case of killing of a Mizoram student, Johny Lalhmangaizuala, during a football match at Lovely Professional University last year.
The court of Kapurthala Sessions Judge M S Virdi acquitted the trio - Hashim Idriss, Ahmed Altgany, both from Sudan and Saeed Feisal from Tanzania - after the prosecution "miserably failed" to prove the charge of murder or even the alternate charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Enquiries by TOI have revealed that the three students who were in jail since the incident have been released. The trial took just less than eleven months after the incident which occured late evening of March 26. It is learnt that Sudanese embassy had especially followed the case very keenly.
A scuffle took place over a trivial issue during the football match between Mizo and Sudanese students and the Mizo student Johny, who was member of the team of his state, died after being severely thrashed on the ground. He died after some hours at a hospital. Johny (22) was student of B Tech (Civil Engineering) Second year.
The acquittal has come after defence counsel Harminder Syal exposed several holes in the prosecution case including raising a Lalkara (challenge for some violent action) for killing Johny even as the Sudanese students were shouting in their own language. The prosecution had claimed that Lalkaras were raised as Johny had scored a goal in the match.
The court found that testimonies of two crucial witnesses Surinder Kumar Khurana, senior security officer of the university and Satish Kumar Sharda, referee of the match, were doubtful and rather full of improvements. Though the duo had built up a strong case against the accused in the Chief Examination but during their cross examination it came out that they were near washroom outside the playground which was at a distance of around 50 meters and on reaching they saw there was free fight among around 50 students and Johny was lying unconscious in the ground. "They had not seen the accused themselves with their own eyes while giving kick blows on Johny," the court found.
The post-mortem by a board of doctors held that cause of death was splenic tear, bleeding to hemorrhage and shock. However the defence counsel had argued that Johny actually died because of medical negligence.
Two other eyewitnesses Sanjay Singh and Liansangzuala, who were part of the Mizo team, did not support the prosecution case. The court found that it was actually a free for all fight and the role of the three accused in killing Johny could not be established beyond doubt. Rather the defence taken by the accused that they have been falsely implicated by the police seemed more plausible as university management faced pressure from student union and media, the court held.