A local court has acquitted a man charged with murder and criminal intimidation in a seven-year-old case, saying the investigation was “highly shoddy” and the prosecution had “miserably failed” to establish the charges beyond any reasonable doubt.
The court was hearing a case against Shivam, accused of killing a man identified as Manjeet with a knife on May 14, 2016, near Raj Yog Sainik Farm Enclave. He was also charged with criminally intimidating the eyewitness Govinda.
The accused was found in possession of a large knife without a permit.
In a recent judgment, Additional Sessions Judge Shivali Sharma said, “…Considering the overall evidence on record, I have no hesitation in holding that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove on record the offences charged against accused Shivam beyond any reasonable doubt and the evidence on record is highly insufficient for convicting the accused Shivam for the offences charged.”
The judge further said, “Accused Shivam is, accordingly, acquitted of the offences charged against him, giving him the benefit of the doubt.”
Govinda, the complainant, did not support the prosecution’s case and instead alleged that the investigating officer had obtained his signatures on blank papers and also threatened him because of which he recorded a false statement, the judge noted.
Additionally, a sub-inspector did not receive the information about the alleged murder directly from Govinda but indirectly from the complainant’s father, making it all the more insufficient for convicting the accused, the court said.
The “last seen evidence” that had come on record by way of testimonies of two prosecution witnesses was “highly unbelievable” and could not be relied upon for convicting the accused, it further said.
According to the court, another circumstance relied upon by the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused was the recovery of the weapon of offence, the knife, at the instance of the accused but there were no independent public witnesses to the alleged recovery.
Prior to the recovery of the alleged weapon of offence, the entire scene of the crime was under the control of the investigating authorities and, accordingly, planting the recovered blood-stained knife cannot be ruled out, the judge said.
“In addition to this, there is no clear evidence on record that the recovered knife has been used for committing the murder ,” the court said and added, “…The investigation in the present case has been highly shoddy. No chance prints have been lifted from the spot “
There was also no direct evidence on record to show the presence of the accused at the place of the murder and the chain of circumstances put forward by the prosecution was neither duly established on record nor was complete to prove the accused’s guilt, the court noted.
“The circumstances relied upon by the prosecution, even if proved, do not lead to the only conclusion that accused Shivam had committed the murder of the deceased Manjeet,” the judge said.
The Ranhola police station had registered an FIR against Shivam under sections 302 (murder) and 506 II (punishment for criminal intimidation when the threat is to cause death or grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Arms Act.