Chennai: Pointing out that in a case based on circumstantial evidence, there has to be cogent evidence to connect the accused that it is the accused who has committed the crime and none else, the Madras high court has set aside an order of a trial court convicting and sentencing two accused to life imprisonment in a murder case, on the ground that the circumstantial evidence let in is inconsistent.
A division bench comprising Justices M.M. Sundresh and M.Nirmal Kumar allowed the appeals filed by the accused Shankar and Nithithiyaraj.
The prosecution case was that the deceased Vinoth Kumar was a mason contractor. The first accused was a tenant in the house of the deceased and due to some bad association between the first accused and the deceased the wife of the deceased asked the first accused to vacate the premises. The accused 1 and 2 are brothers. On April 22, 2011 at 8.30 a.m. a prosecution witness (PW-4 who works under the deceased) met both the accused and deceased near Iyyappanthangal bus stop. Thereafter, the deceased asked him (PW-4) to go for the work and informed him that he will join him by 11 a.m. But even after 1.00 pm the deceased did not come to the place of work. It was stated that the accused have taken him near the Jayavinayagar temple at Retteri lake, Porur. The deceased Vinoth Kumar was attacked by the accused and his head was dashed against the temple wall and thereby caused his death. To conceal the same, the appellants had thrown the body of the deceased in the lake, the prosecution added.
After perusing the materials available on record, the bench said this court finds that the witnesses were contrary to each other and unbelievable. The wife of the deceased admits that she was informed by PW-4 that her husband was thrown in the lake at about 1.pm and also states that she was informed about the same at about 2.30 pm by PW-4. It was seen that the complaint was lodged at 5.30 pm. Further, the mother and brother of the deceased has sated that they came to know about the incident only through the wife of the deceased. Hence, the genesis of the case itself has become highly doubtful, the bench added.
The bench said it was seen that the complaint came to be registered at about 5.30 p.m. that her husband was missing and thereupon a man missing case was registered. However, it was the case of the prosecution that the wife of the deceased was informed by PW-4 at about 2.p.m. about her husband being assaulted and thrown in the lake by the appellants and if that version of PW-4 informing the wife of the deceased was true, then the genesis of the case was false. PW-4 (mason), PW-5 (watchman of the building where the deceased was working, PW-6 (passerby who has seen the fight between the deceased and the appellant) and PW-8(supervisor of the building) were all very certain that the accused and the appellants were in drunken state and taking advantage of the drunkenness of the deceased, he was done to death, and his body was thrown in the lake. But in the viscera report and the postmortem certificate it was stated that alcohol was not present in the body of the deceased. “The chain of events are not inter connected and does not inspire to place reliance on the evidence available. The circumstances should lead to the sole inference that the accused is guilty of the offence. However, in the case on hand, the circumstantial evidence let in is inconsistent. The evidence of the prosecution cannot be said to be reliable evidence”, the bench added.