Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Friday acquitted three persons who had been sentenced to death in a murder case.
A division bench comprising Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar and Justice M. Satyanarayana Murti, while answering a Reference of Trial from Special Sessions Judge cum IV Additional District Judge of Guntur, acquitted Yekkaluri Siva Krishna alias Yogi, Akkinapalli Murali Krishna alias Murali, and Pappula Amar Nageswara Rao of the 2011 murder of Banawath Badya Naik, an engineer in the Nagarjunasagar project. The bench allowed the appeal by the convicts.
According to the prosecution, the three convicted men were dacoits and natives of Dachepally in Guntur, who were accused of murder in nine cases.
The convicted men had committed crimes in Krishna, Nalgonda, Prakasam, Kurnool, Hyderabad and Guntur districts.
The modus operandi of the accused, according to the prosecution, was to hire taxis, pick up passengers on the highways and rob them. They would kill their victims if the latter resisted.
On February 26, 2011, the three picked up Daravath Badya Naik who was returning from Vijayawada. They allegedly killed the engineer when he resisted them and dumped the body in a canal before escaping with some gold and Rs 3,500 in cash.
While awarding the death penalty, the trial court had observed that “this court has come to the conclusion that the murder was committed by the accused in an extremely brutal manner.” The trial court observed that their existence on this earth would pose a threat to others as they committed crimes in a most cruel manner.
K. Suresh Reddy, appearing for the convicts, argued that the prosecution had not substantiated its case and the circumstantial evidence on which the prosecution relied did not establish the guilt of the appellants. Moreover there were no eyewitness in the case.
The public prosecutor, justifying the death penalty, submitted that the accused deserved capital punishment as they were involved in several dacoity cases and also nine murders.
The bench found that there was no eyewitness in the case and two witnesses cited by the prosecution came into the picture only after the arrest of the accused. Both these witnesses deposed that they saw the deceased in the company of the accused at Vijayawada while he was boarding the taxi, and the trial court awarded the punishment believing the two witnesses.
While allowing the appeal of the convicts, the bench pointed out that the chances of foisting a case against them cannot be ruled out as the two witnesses were not examined immediately after the registration of the crime.
The bench also found that the there was no corroboration of medical evidence with regard to injuries on the deceased and the cause of death cited by the prosecution....