A district court in Thane acquitted four persons in a 2010 murder case of a woman, giving them the benefit of doubt.

District judge Vilas V Bambarde in his order recently said the prosecution failed to prove the charges against the four – Mohammed Tausif Taher Ansari (33), his wife Sana Tausif Ansari (31), Rashid Yusuf Shaikh (33), and Afrin Babar Ali Khan (31), and acquitted them.

Prosecutor Sanjay Londhe told the court that the accused trespassed into the house of the victim – Rabia Babar Ali Khan (30) – in February 2010, and killed her.

He said the police then registered a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Bombay Police Act.

Afrin is the second wife of the complainant Babar Ali Khan. The victim was his first wife.

There was an animosity between the two women and hence Afrin hired the Ansari couple as a contract killer, and they killed the victim with the help of Rashid Yusuf Shaikh.

But defence counsels Ramrao Jagtap and CJ Jahagirdar contested the claim and said the accused were falsely implicated.

“There is nothing incriminating against the accused to connect them with the murder of Rabia. The alleged extrajudicial confession is not established. There is no evidence that accused have trespassed into the house of Rabia after making preparation for killing her,” the judge said in his order and acquitted the four.