3 accused in a heinous murder case acquitted as circumstantial evidence not proved

The additional sessions court at Baramati, Pune, Maharashtra on 17th March 2021 acquitted all the 3 accused in a heinous murder case. The prosecution failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt based on circumstantial evidence.

Background of the case:

According to the prosecution case, the mother of the deceased boy namely Bhimashankar Kalappa Atnure, on 19/08/2018 lodged a missing complaint with the police station. Thereafter after 4 days, one beheaded dead body was found in a river near the village of the complainant. The police then called the relatives of the person of whom the missing report was filed. The relatives identified the body to be of Bhimashankar.

Accordingly, police recorded statements of relatives and witnesses, in which, they found that Bhimashankar was last seen with the accused No.3. The witnesses raised the suspicion that Bhimashankar teased the daughter of accused No.1 and so, the accused Nos. 1 to 3 killed him.

The accused case was of total denial and they claimed that a false and fabricated case is leveled against them.

Issues before the court:

The case had the following aspects to be decided: ­ a) The motive to commit the crime, b) Last seen theory, c) The identity of the dead body d) The disclosure statement of accused Nos. 1 and 3 u/s. 27 of the Indian Evidence Act,  e) The CDRs of Bhimashankar, his friend and of accused.

Arguments advanced:

Mr. S.B. Ohol, the advocate on behalf of the prosecution examined 10 prosecution witnesses. He argued that the witnesses are consistent on the motive of the accused to commit the crime and last seen of Bhimashankar Atnure with the accused No.3. The prosecution also proved from the disclosure statement, the spot of incidence, the spot where the dead body, head, weapon, clothes on the person and the accused, and the vehicle used in the crime.

The CDR report is against the accused. No defense has been taken by the accused in the statement u/s. 313 of Cr. P. C., and the prosecution established their case and the circumstances only point towards the guilt of the accused so, he has prayed for conviction of all the accused.

Adv Milind Pawar, Adv Mangesh Kharabe, and Adv Jyoti Bhonve appeared on behalf of the 3 accused. They argued that the case based upon circumstantial evidence is not proved by the prosecution. The motive, last seen, and discovery of facts u/s. 27 of the Indian Evidence Act from the accused is not proved by the prosecution. There are material omissions in the testimony of the prosecution witnesses. Their evidence is contrary to each other and they are interested witnesses.

The independent panch witnesses and witnesses on last seen have turned hostile. The DNA report of Bhimashankar Atnure is not matched with his parents. The prosecution failed to establish that the dead body is of Bhimashankar Atnure.  Overall the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt.

Court’s observation: 

After hearing counsels for both sides, the court observed that the case has not been proved by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt. Only the motive of the accused to commit the crime is coming out clearly from the prosecution case. But solely on the basis of motive, conviction cannot be given to the accused. The motive to commit a crime is relevant and is a corroborative piece of evidence. Motive gets significance in the case based upon circumstantial evidence. The circumstantial evidence in the present case fails to prove that the accused committed the crime to fulfill the motive.

Regarding the identification of the body, the court observed that the body was identified on the basis colour of underwear on the beheaded body and extra grown nail of the left hand’s thumb. But such identification of the deceased boy was not mentioned in the missing complaint. So, importance cannot be given to such kind of identification.

Regarding the DNA report, the prosecution contended that the parents were not biological parents of the deceased and thus the DNA did not match. This created a serious doubt regarding the identification of the body.

The court also found material omissions in the prosecution witnesses which led to prove the contention of the accused that the case false fabricated against them.

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Decision:

Considering all the evidence available on record the sessions court ruled that the prosecution utterly failed to prove the case   based upon circumstantial evidence against the accused of the offenses charged with. The order of acquittal of all three accused was thus passed vide section 235(1) of Cr.P.C.

Story by Harshwardhan Pawar – Intern

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