KARACHI, Sept 20: A district and sessions court on Saturday indicted two men in the murder case of the renowned artist Mohammad Ismail Gulgee, his wife and their maid in December 2007.

Gulgee, his wife Zareen Gulgee, and their maid Asiya were found strangled in their house in the jurisdiction of the Boat Basin police station on December 19, 2007. The bodies found were at least three to four days old while the driver of the artist, Akram Ali, and another servant, Anwar, had gone missing along with a car belonging to the deceased.

A case (FIR No 490/07) was registered under Section 302/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of Amin Gulgee at the Boat Basin police station.

The district and sessions judge, South, Arjun Ram K. Talreja, has summoned all the prosecution witnesses on the next date of hearing to testify in the case. Both the accused pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the case.

According to the prosecution, the only son of the deceased, Amin Gulgee, who lived in an adjoining portion of the house, had informed the police about the triple murder.

He had informed the police that the gate of his parent’s house had been locked for past five days and their car was not parked in the parking area. The deceased artist’s son got alarmed over this situation and broke the lock open and got inside only to find his parents and their maidservant brutally murdered.

The prosecution said that the accused, Akram Ali, who hailed from Punjab, was hired by the deceased in the first week of December and upon observing the amount of wealth the late artist had in his possession, the accused made a robbery plan.

Later, Akram invited his friend, Anwar, from Lahore and got him employed as a cook to help him execute his plan.

On December 15, 2007, the prosecution added, the accused forcefully covered Gulgee’s face with a piece of cloth and axed him to death. His wife, Zareen, was also killed in a similar manner, he added, saying that since the accused found the cash short of their expectations, they waited the whole night long in the house and the next morning when the maidservant came they inquired about more cash or valuables.

When she expressed her ignorance about the whereabouts of cash etc, they also killed her and drove off in the deceased’s vehicle and later abandoned it in Darakhshan and fled to Lahore.

A team of the Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC), acting on a tip-off, had raided a hotel near the Cantonment railway station and arrested the suspects, Akram Ali, and, Anwar, on February 16, 2008 for their alleged involvement in the triple murder case and also recovered the looted cash and precious paintings of the deceased from their possession. Later, both the suspects were sent to jail.

Earlier, a lawyer was arranged on behalf of the state for one of the suspects, Akram Ali, as he had filed an application seeking a counsel from the state, maintaining that he could not hire a lawyer.

While on the pervious hearing on Sept 12, the provincial government had also notified the court that Mohammad Ashraf Qazi had been appointed as the special public prosecutor to represent the complainant, Amin Gulgee, in the case. The court has fixed Oct 11 as the next date of hearing.

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