Tamil Nadu

HC sets aside acquittal of five in murder case

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has set aside a trial court order acquitting five key accused in a 2007 murder case registered in Thoothukudi, and awarded life sentence to them.

The court was hearing a criminal appeal filed by P. Thilagavathi of Thoothukudi district against the judgment of the Additional Sessions Judge, Thoothukudi, who in 2009 acquitted 12 persons accused of murdering her husband Pachaiperumal.

The case of the prosecution was that in 2007 the 12 accused persons conspired to eliminate Pachaiperumal due to previous enmity. They intercepted him near a plantation and inflicted injuries on him indiscriminately, causing his death.

The Additional Sessions Judge had outrightly rejected the conspiracy theory and expressed doubts over the witnesses. All the 12 accused were acquitted by the trial court. The acquittal was challenged before the High Court.

A Division Bench of Justices S. Vaidyanathan and G. Jayachandran observed that though evidence was adequate to convict the accused, the trial court had disbelieved the prosecution case in its entirety for slender reasons due to fanciful reasoning and doubts.

The court could not lose sight of the fact that it was a case involving multiple accused and multiple injuries. Naturally, the witnesses were subjected to cross-examination by multiple advocates. Failure to attribute definite roles to the accused or minor variations in ascribing the roles to them alone could not be a reasonable ground for acquittal, the Bench said.

In this case, sufficient evidence was available to prove that with deadly weapons, the five main accused caused bodily injuries with common intention to cause death and with knowledge that the injuries were sufficient and likely to cause death.

The main accused – Murugesan alias Shanmugasundram, Pachaiperumal alias Patchikutti, Palavesaraj alias Palavesamuthu, Kulasekarapandian and Blade Ganesan alias Ganesan – were found guilty of murder. The court awarded life sentences to them, and confirmed the acquittal of the other accused.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 1:41:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-sets-aside-acquittal-of-five-in-murder-case/article37902646.ece

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