Himachal High Court set aside murder conviction order of lower court
Shimla, Aug 8
In a significant verdict, the High Court of Himachal Pradesh has acquitted Asha Devi, overturning the judgment of conviction and life imprisonment handed down by the Sessions Judge, Solan. The case involved the murder of Sushil Kumar, the then A.G.M. of B.S.N.L., Solan.
The Division Bench, comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Ranjan Sharma, delivered the acquittal order in response to an appeal filed by Asha Devi. The prosecution had alleged that Asha Devi was responsible for the murder, claiming that she fatally attacked Sushil Kumar with a knife due to his sexual advances and abusive behavior towards her.
The case of the prosecution is that the deceased had gone to a Resort at Solan, on 30.06.2012, in the evening and did not return to home. On 01.07.2012, the deceased was found lying dead in his vehicle and there were many wounds over his body and huge blood stains thereupon. An FIR was registered in the police Station Sadar, Solan. It had come in the investigation that the deceased could be seen in CCTV footage, entering the Resort with his friend and thereafter consumed liquor. At about 1:53 A.M. deceased is seen parking his vehicle in the Resort parking and thereafter coming out from vehicle with accused Asha Devi (Appellant).
On the basis of suspicion the accused was arrested on 03.07.2012 and in the investigation it transpired that the appellant was engaged in the BSNL on contract basis by the deceased in the year 2008 and the contract was terminated in the year, 2012. Thereafter, the deceased had got her re-employed in an Agency owned by his friend. It was further revealed that the appellant was involved in a physical relation with the deceased. As per prosecution, on that day deceased parked his vehicle near his office and wanted to have sexual intercourse with the appellant but due to the menstruation period, she refused and then the deceased wanted to have unnatural sex with the appellant. To resist the act of the deceased, the appellant took up the knife from the back seat of the vehicle (which deceased used to keep in his vehicle) and gave many blows on the private parts, stomach, chest and arms of the deceased resulting his death. After killing the deceased, she threw the knife in a vehicle of un-known number. It is further the case of the prosecution that the accused stabbed the deceased to death as the deceased used to sexually assault her and compel her to indulge in unnatural sex and prepare MMS thereof.
On the basis of circumstantial evidence, the Trial Court convicted the accused to life imprisonment u/s 302 of IPC,. Aggrieved by the sentence, the appellant preferred an appeal before the High Court.
Hearing the counsels for the parties at a length, the Court found that the prosecution has miserably failed to connect the linkages in the chain of circumstantial evidence.
During the course of the trial, the Court found that the prosecution’s evidence was insufficient to establish a conclusive chain of circumstantial evidence. The Court noted that the investigation was marred by inconsistencies and lacked the support of independent witnesses.
In its ruling, the High Court emphasized that suspicion alone cannot replace legal proof and that the prosecution had not convincingly connected the linkages in the chain of circumstantial evidence. Based on these findings, the High Court set aside the judgment of conviction and sentence, ordering the immediate release of Asha Devi.
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