Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Setting aside an order of acquittal by a trial court, the Madras High Court has sentenced to life imprisonment a 65-year-old man in connection with a case of murder and theft.

A Division Bench comprising Justices D. Murugesan and V. Periya Karuppiah, convicted and sentenced Kutty alias Natarajan to undergo life imprisonment for an offence under section 449 (house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death); one month imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500 for an offence under section 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint); life imprisonment and a fine of Rs.10,000 under section 302 (punishment for murder); seven years rigorous imprisonment (RI) and a fine of Rs.5000 under section 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc) and seven years RI and a fine of Rs.5000 for an offence under section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) IPC. The Bench said the sentences regarding imprisonment should run concurrently.

The prosecution case was that in October 2003, Kutty entered the house of one Jagadambal at Pillaiyarpalayam, Kancheepuram, pushed her and prevented her from leaving. He later stabbed her on the abdomen three times resulting in her death. Thereafter, he took away her two gold bangles, ring and studs. He later put clothes on the victim’s body, poured kerosene and set it afire.

In March 2005, The Additional Sessions Judge, Fast Track Court No.II, Kancheepuram, concluded that the prosecution had not proved the charges beyond reasonable doubt and acquitted him of all the charges.

Challenging this, the State preferred appeal.

In the order, the Division Bench said the extra-judicial confession given by Kutty could also be taken as an additional link to the circumstantial evidence that had already been established with the recovery of stolen articles and investigation of foot prints which reinforced recovery of the jewellery, thereby proving that the accused was guilty.

The prosecution had established the case with circumstantial evidence without any breakage of links in respect of the various offences. The prosecution had proved the charges beyond reasonable doubt, the Bench said and convicted him.