Chennai: The Madras high court set aside an order of the sessions court in Chennai convicting and sentencing three accused to life imprisonment in a murder case.
Allowing the appeals filed by Rajkumar alias Kumar, Bala alias Balakrishnan and Venkatesan, which challenged an order of the IV additional sessions judge dated January 12, convicting and sentencing them to life imprisonment, a division bench comprising Justices C.T.Selvam and N.Sathish Kumar acquitted them of all charges.
The prosecution case was that Rajkumar and Venkatesan and the deceased Murthy were engaged in coal loading by lorry at the Harbour and Bala was running a shop in the Harbour. As Rajkumar suffered losses in business, there was previous enmity between and him and the deceased. Rajkumar, with intent to commit the murder, took Murthy to a lodge in Triplicane, where Venkatesan was staying on August 19, 2011 and all of them consumed liquor. There was an argument between Rajkumar and Murthy owing to which Murthy assaulted Rajkumar. Angered by the attack, Rajkumar indiscriminately assaulted Murthy, resulting in his death.
The accusation against Venkatesan and Bala was that they caught hold of Murthy and Rajkumar, using a blade, cut his neck. Upon completion of trial, the IV additional sessions court awarded life sentence to them. Aggrieved, they preferred the present appeals.
The bench said, “We find merit in the submissions of R.C.Paul Kanagaraj, counsel for the appellants. We fail to see how the inquest report could have arrived at the motive and also manner of occurrence, when the family members of the deceased were not present at the time of inquest. Admittedly, all the panchayatars at the inquest were not known either to the deceased or his family members. The evidence of witnesses informing the presence of the accused at the police station on August 23, 2011 would point to the Investigation Officer having concluded who the accused are and then having gone about gathering evidence in support of his conclusion. In the present case, where the prosecution seeks to link the accused to the murder of the deceased, through circumstances, each and every link is to be firmly established. In this case, such requirement has not been met”.
There was no evidence to show that Venkatesan had stayed in the hotel on the date of occurrence. The witnesses have admitted that they identified the accused in an identification parade in the police station. The identification of accused at test identification parade and consequential identification in court were rendered unreliable, the bench pointed out and set aside the life sentence awarded to the accused....