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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday set aside the conviction of former BSP minister Anand Sen Yadav and his woman associate Seema Azad in the case of kidnapping and murder of Faizabad's law student Shashi in October 2007.
The two, along with Vijaysen, who was Yadav's personal driver, were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Faizabad court in May 2011.
The Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Devendra Kumar Arora gave Anand Sen Yadav and Seema Azad "benefit of doubt".
It reduced Vijay Sen's sentence to10 years imprisonment on charges of kidnapping and violation of the SC/ST Act. The court also sentenced him to two years imprisonment for destruction of evidence.
Shashi, the daughter of a local BSP activist of Faizabad, went missing on October 22, 2007. Her body was never found. Her father alleged she had been killed by the minister.
The high court observed that taking a holistic view and the totality of circumstances of the case, the trial court has erred in drawing the conclusion that all three accused were involved in the alleged crime.