Says, prosecution had miserably failed to prove their guilt

The Madras High Court Bench here has acquitted two individuals accused of killing a 25-year-old daughter of a hotelier for stealing her jewels and setting fire to her body at Manjalneer Kayal under Sawyerpuram police station limits in Tuticorin District on September 16, 2010.

Allowing a criminal appeal filed by the convicts Jeyasankar alias Sankar and Iverraja, a Division Bench of Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice P. Devadass held that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove the guilt of the accused as the case rested solely on circumstantial evidence.

The judges pointed out several infirmities in the case, including the alleged statements which led to the recovery of weapons used for the crime and said that the recovery purportedly made under Section 27 of the Evidence Act was nothing but a “stage-managed and make-belief affair.”

Writing the judgement, Mr. Justice Devadass recalled that the Supreme Court in one of the recent cases had held: “There is indeed a long distance between the accused ‘may have committed the offence' and ‘must have committed the offence' which must be traversed by the prosecution by adducing reliable and cogent evidence. Presumption of innocence has been recognised as a human right which cannot be wished away.”

In so far as the present case was concerned, “none of the circumstances woven by the prosecution has been proved. The chain of circumstances projected by the prosecution is found broken everywhere. They do not form a complete chain unerringly proceeding towards the accused. They also do not exclude hypothesis of innocence in favour of the accused,” the judges said.

Keywords: murder

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