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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

When the accused is acquitted under sec.498 A and when the co accused is acquitted totally, the husband can not be convicted for murder of his wife , basing on circumstantial evidence - entitled for Benefit of Doubt = On the other hand, a plain perusal of the letters Ex. D4 and Ex.D4A written by the deceased to the appellant while he was abroad, do not reveal anguished outbursts of a wife otherwise expected in such a situation or any fervent insistence for early return. Instead the contents thereof reveal narration of mundane happenings of day to day life, emphasis on the need for his required stay thereat for enhanced savings together with somewhat intimate feelings expected of a married couple physically estranged by compulsion of circumstances. The letters for the least, do not suggest any bitterness, disappointment, frustration and seething indignation of the deceased for the appellant being away at Jeddah/Saudi Arabia and allegedly with the lady, Darly. Instead there are traces of cheer for his expected return in near future. The authenticity of these letters and also of the records relied upon by the defence to demonstrate that the appellant while abroad used to remit money for the sustenance of the family, has not been impeached.= the evidence available on record, it would be, in our view, wholly unsafe to hold the appellant guilty of the charge of murder of his wife by strangulating her with the nylon rope as seized and then hanging her from the roof with the saree to complete the act. The circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution in our assessment falls short of the requirement in law to return a finding of guilt against the appellant without any element of doubt whatsoever. The fact that both the accused persons had been exonerated of the charge of cruelty under Section 498A IPC and that the co-accused, who allegedly had assisted the appellant in the perpetration of the crime had been fully acquitted by the courts below of all the charges also takes away the wind from the sails of the prosecution.= It is a trite proposition of law, that suspicion however grave, it cannot take the place of proof and that the prosecution in order to succeed on a criminal charge cannot afford to lodge its case in the realm of “may be true” but has to essentially elevate it to the grade of “must be true”. In a criminal prosecution, the court has a duty to ensure that mere conjectures or suspicion do not take the place of legal proof and in a situation where a reasonable doubt is entertained in the backdrop of the evidence available, to prevent miscarriage of justice, benefit of doubt is to be extended to the accused. Such a doubt essentially has to be reasonable and not imaginary, fanciful, intangible or non-existent but as entertainable by an impartial, prudent and analytical mind, judged on the touch stone of reason and common sense. It is also a primary postulation in criminal jurisprudence that if two views are possible on the evidence available, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and the other to his innocence, the one favourable to the accused ought to be adopted. “The Law of Evidence” fifth edition by Ian Dennis at page 483: “Where the case against the accused depends wholly or partly on inferences from circumstantial evidence, factfinders cannot logically convict unless they are sure that inferences of guilt are the only ones that can reasonably be drawn. If they think that there are possible innocent explanations for circumstantial evidence that are not “merely fanciful”, it must follow that there is a reasonable doubt about guilt. There is no rule, however, that judges must direct juries in terms not to convict unless they are sure that the evidence bears no other explanation than guilt. It is sufficient to direct simply that the burden on the prosecution is to satisfy the jury beyond reasonable doubt, or so that they are sure. The very high standard of proof required in criminal cases minimises the risk of a wrongful conviction. It means that someone whom, on the evidence, the factfinder believes is “probably” guilty, or “likely” to be guilty will be acquitted, since these judgements of probability necessarily admit that the factfinder is not “sure”. It is generally accepted that some at least of these acquittals will be of persons who are in fact guilty of the offences charged, and who would be convicted if the standard of proof were the lower civil standard of the balance of probabilities. Such acquittals are the price paid for the safeguard provided by the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard against wrongful conviction.” The circumstances brought forth by the prosecution do not rule out in absolute terms the hypothesis of the innocence of the appellant. We thus consider it to be wholly unsafe to maintain his conviction as recorded by the courts below. We are therefore inclined to extend benefit of doubt to him. The conclusions drawn by the courts below are not tenable on the basis of the evidence available. The appeal is thus allowed and the conviction and sentence recorded by the courts below is hereby set aside.

                                                                  REPORTABLE
                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                 CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                     CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 919 OF 2013

JOSE @ PAPPACHAN                             …APPELLANT
            VERSUS
THE SUB-INSPECTOR OF POLICE,
KOYILANDY & ANOTHER                             …RESPONDENTS

                       J U D G M E N T
      AMITAVA ROY, J.


      The appellant stands sequentially  convicted by the  both  the  Courts
below  under Section 302 of the Indian Penal code  (for  short,  hereinafter
to  be  referred  to  as  “IPC”)  and   resultantly  sentenced   to   suffer
imprisonment for life  and also to pay fine of Rs. 10000/-.
2.          At the trial, he along  with  his  brother  Benny  Joseph,  were
indicted  under Sections 498A/Section 302 IPC read with Section 34  IPC  for
having murdered his wife Neena.  The Trial Court however acquitted  both  of
them of the  charge  under  Section  498A  IPC.   The  co-accused  was  also
acquitted  of  the  other  charge.  To  reiterate,  the  conviction  of  the
appellant under Section 302 IPC having been sustained  by  the  High  Court,
he seeks  panacean  intervention in the instant appeal.
3.          We have heard Mr. Basant R.,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
appellant and Mr. G. Prakash, learned counsel for the respondents.
4.          To appropriately outline the factual premise, apt  it  would  be
at the threshold to present the fascicule of the rival projections.
5.          The appellant was a police constable at  the  time  of  marriage
with the deceased on 19.6.1986 as per their customary rites whereafter  they
set up their matrimonial home to  start  with  at  their  family  house  and
thereafter at  the  places  of  his  postings  in  service.   Allegedly,  he
developed an extra-marital relationship with one lady named Darly for  which
he used to ill-treat and  harass  his  wife  both  physically  and  mentally
whenever she used  to  express  her  reservations  and  objections  to  such
alliance.  According to the prosecution, under the  influence  of  the  said
lady, the appellant even resigned from his job and proceeded for  Jeddah  in
the year 1997 where he and the said Darly lived as husband and wife.  It  is
alleged that in order to legalise the relationship,  the  appellant  plotted
to eliminate  the deceased and with that end in view, returned to  India  on
22.8.2000. He thereafter accompanied Neena, the deceased,  for  a  spiritual
retreat to “Potta Divine Retreat Centre”  but abruptly cut short their  stay
thereat and returned home on 19.9.2000.  The accusation is that after  their
return on that date, sometime in between 6.30 to 8.30  p.m.,  the  appellant
smothered the deceased inside the room of his  house,  strangulated  her  by
using a plastic rope  and then hanged her from a hook of  the  roof  of  the
work area of the house by using a saree and  thus   brutally  murdered  her.
The prosecution has imputed that in this heinous  act,  the  co-accused  his
brother, who since has been acquitted, had assisted him.
6.          The information of this incident was lodged by  Mr.  Cheriyan  @
Papputy  with the Koonachundu  Police Station whereafter the  the  appellant
and the co-accused, his brother were arrested on 21.9.2000   and  15.11.2000
respectively.  On the closure of the investigation,  charge-sheet  was  laid
against both the accused persons under Sections 498A/ 302 read with  Section
34 IPC and eventually, the case was committed for  trial   to  the  Sessions
Court, Kozhikod.
7.          The accused persons denied the charge and claimed to  be  tried,
whereafter the prosecution examined 25 witnesses including the  doctor,  who
performed the post-mortem examination on  the  dead  body  as  well  as  the
investigating officer.  Several documents were also  proved  and  exhibited.
The accused persons were examined under Section 313 Cr.P.C.   They stood  by
their  denial   and   refuted   the   correctness   of   the   incriminating
circumstances with which they were  confronted.  They  also  examined  three
witnesses in defence.
8.          The Trial Court, to reiterate,  on a scrutiny  of  the  evidence
of the record  and after analysing the rival contentions, acquitted both  of
them of the charge under Section 498A  but held the appellant guilty of  the
offence of murder of his wife Neena and convicted him under Section 302  IPC
and sentenced him as above.  The co-accused was  exonerated  of  the  charge
under Section 302  IPC  as  well.   The  appellant   failed  to  secure  his
acquittal before  the  High  Court,  which  by  the  verdict  impugned,  has
sustained  the determination of the Trial Court.
9.           Before  adverting  to   the  evidence  adduced,  it  would   be
expedient  to  notice  the  defence  plea  for  a  purposeful   appreciation
thereof.
10.         It is the assertion of the appellant  that  being  compelled  by
financial distress and with the consent and approval of  the  deceased,   he
had gone to Saudi Arabia on 12.9.1997 in search of  better  pastures,  after
resigning from his service from the State  Police  Department.   He  claimed
that his relationship with his  wife  had  always  remained  very  fond  and
affectionate and that out of the wedlock, they  had  two  sons.  To  endorse
this contention, he referred amongst others to the letters  written  by  the
deceased in particular to him while he was abroad.   He maintained  that  he
used to remit finances for the sustenance of the deceased and  the  children
and that on his return to the country, he on the  request  of  the  deceased
had accompanied to a divine retreat on 16.9.2000 to Potta,   wherefrom  they
returned on 19.9.2000.
11.         According to him, they alighted from  the  bus  from  Potta   at
their destination at about 7.30 pm. when they saw their elder son going  for
purchase of house hold articles. He then sent the deceased  home   with  his
son and he  went in search for labourers to work  on  his  property  on  the
next day.  He mentioned that in the process,  he  met  Mullakkara  Kunhumon,
Sainaba, Jameela and Palliparambil Thankan   and  finalised  with  them  for
such work. According to him, he thereafter with Thankan went  to  the  house
of  Edattankuzhi Jose  and Cheriyan @ Papputty   but  found  that  Jose  was
away for a meeting.  He thereafter proceeded towards his house  and  on  the
way was pushed down by  two  persons  hurriedly  coming  from  the  opposite
direction. On his hue and cry, persons from  the  locality   rushed  to  the
place and searched for these two persons, but in vain.  As in  the  process,
the co-accused, his brother suffered chest  pain,  the  appellant  requested
Joy  (PW7) and Cheriyan @ Papputty (PW1)  to  bring  the  necessary  medical
documents from   his wife.
12.         These two persons after reaching the  house  of  the  appellant,
raised alarm  and on hearing the cry,  he  (appellant)  along  with  Anikkal
Babu and Thankan, who were present there,  rushed to his  (appellant)  house
whereupon they saw Neena in a hanging posture from a hook  in  the  roof  of
the work area of the house and  that  Joy  and  Cheriyan  @  Papputty   were
holding her legs to lift the body upwards. The appellant thereafter  took  a
knife (koduval) from his kitchen and brought down the body by  snapping  the
saree  by which the body  was  hanging.   They  then  rushed  Neena  to  the
Medical College Hospital where she was declared to be dead.   The  appellant
while insisting that he was innocent, laid the blame  on  the  relations  of
the deceased  to have foisted a false case against him.
13.         As referred to hereinabove, the  First  Information  Report  was
lodged by Cheriyan @ Papputty at 9.30 a.m. on the next day  i.e.  20.9.2000,
his version being that about 10 P.M.  on 19.9.2000, while Benny  (co-accused
and brother of the appellant) was sitting in the tea shop of   Pulluparambil
Mathew   (PW6), he suffered an epileptic attack  for  which  he  along  with
Mathew, on being requested by the appellant, went to  his  house  to  secure
the medical papers from Neena.  It was mentioned that when they reached  the
house, they found the door open with a lantern  lit  inside.   As  on  their
calls, the deceased Neena did not respond, they entered the house and  found
 her in a hanging position from the hook on the ceiling at the work area  at
the rear side of the house and  that  she  was  struggling  for  life.  They
having raised alarm by  that  sight,  the  appellant  and  his  neighbourers
including Kunjumon, Regi and Thankan  arrived at the  spot,  whereafter  the
appellant cut the saree by which Neena was hanging and took her  in  a  jeep
to a Medical College Hospital where she was declared dead.
14.         In  course  of  the  investigation,  the  police  conducted  the
inquest of the dead body and in the process also recorded the  statement  of
PW6 Mathew who was present. His statement, as recorded on the  date  of  the
inquest  i.e. 20.9.2000, is to the effect  that  on  19.9.2000  at  about  9
p.m., while he was preparing to sleep, the appellant loudly  called  him  as
well as his brother Benny  to come  hurriedly.   When  the  witness  reached
the place from where the appellant had  shouted,  he  found   the  appellant
asking somebody to stop and also   abusing  someone.    When  enquired,  the
appellant,  stated to have seen two persons who had pushed him down and  had
ran away. They thereafter engaged  themselves   in  search  of  the  persons
refereed to by the appellant but in vain.  According  to  the  witness,  the
appellant’s brother Benny  started feeling sick  for  which   Kunjumon,  who
was present, was asked by the appellant to call a jeep to  take him  to  the
hospital. The appellant simultaneously asked the witness to go to his  house
and fetch the medical prescription from his wife Neena.  The  witness  along
with PW1  Cheriyan @ Papputty then went to the house of  the  appellant  and
when  Neena did not respond  to their calls, they open the  door  which  was
not bolted  and on reaching the kitchen area, they found the deceased  in  a
hanging position from a hook atop the kitchen veranda by a  saree,  but  was
gasping for breath. On seeing this, both of them  loudly  raised  alarm  and
raised Neena upwards by holding her legs.  The witness further  stated  that
by that time, the appellant and others came running by hearing  their  cries
and  the appellant  brought  a  knife  from  the  kitchen,  cut  the  saree,
brought down the body and then they took  Neena  thereafter  in  a  jeep  to
Thalayada Hospital where  the nurse there  recommended that   she  be  taken
to the Medical College Hospital, They did so, but the doctor there  declared
her to be dead.
15.         The version in the FIR and  the  version  of  the  informant,PW1
Cheriyan @ Papputty and PW6 Mathew, made  at  the  earliest  point  of  time
after the incident, to start with, appear to be substantially consistent.
16.         PW1   Cheriyan  @  Papputty  testified  that  at  9.30  p.m.  on
19.9.2000, he had gone to sleep after dinner, when he was  awakened  by  PW7
Joy to be told that Neena had  committed  suicide.  PW7,  according  to  the
witness,  then  was  accompanied  by  the  appellant  and  PW6  Mathew.   He
confirmed that prior  to  the  date,   the  appellant  and  Neena  had  gone
together for retreat at Potta, leaving their  children  at  their  ancestral
house.  On being questioned, the appellant divulged that they  had  returned
the same evening as Neena  was adamant to come back.
17.         The witness stated that on  getting  the  news,  he  along  with
those present, including the appellant, ran to his house  and  on  the  way,
the appellant stopped a car that was passing and sent in it, the  co-accused
Benny, his brother. The appellant thereafter  sent  Joy  to  bring  a  jeep.
When they reached the work area of the back of the house of  the  appellant,
they found Neena  hanging from the hook attached to the ceiling by a  saree.
 The appellant brought a knife from  the kitchen, cut the saree and  brought
the body down with the help of others.   The  witness  stated  that  in  the
meantime, Joy had  come with the Jeep.  They all carried Neena firstly to  a
private hospital where a nurse, on  being   told  that  it  was  a  case  of
suicide, advised  that   the  patient  be  taken  to  the   Medical  College
Hospital.  When they reached the  hospital,  the  doctor  on  examining  the
Neena  declared her to be brought dead.
18.         The witness mentioned about the  injuries  above  the  nose  and
side of the eyebrow and also swelling on the forehead of  the  Neena.   When
the witness  asked about the injuries, the appellant  told  him  that  those
might have been caused in the process of cutting  the  saree  to  bring  the
body down.  The information about the incident was lodged on  the  next  day
by him and he proved the same as Ex. P-1.  The witness also  confirmed  that
the appellant had later married one lady named Darly and that  he  had  been
living with her thereafter.
19.         In the cross-examination,  this  witness  disclosed  that  about
3/1/2 years before the  incident,  the  appellant   had  resigned  from  his
service in the police department and had gone to the  Gulf   leaving  behind
Neena and children in the house built by him.  He also mentioned  about  the
ancestral house of the father of the appellant about 200  meters  away  from
his house. The witness admitted as well  that the co-accused Benny,  brother
of the appellant, had been then suffering from epilepsy and on the  date  of
the incident as well, he had a bout of attack thereof.
20.         In the course of the cross-examination, this witness was  sought
to be discredited  by referring  to  his  earlier  statements  made  in  the
course of the investigation. This was, as imputed  by  the  defence  as  the
principal witnesses PW1 Cheriyan, PW6 Mathew and PW7 Joy had  been  examined
twice by the police, the last being on 22.1.2004 on the  eve  of  submission
of the charge-sheet,  with  an  endeavour  to  highlight  that  the  earlier
statements had been tailored as desired  and  suggested  by  the  appellant.
Noticeably, the time lag between the date of the incident and  that  of  the
second recording of the  statement  of  these  witnesses  on  22.1.2004,  is
nearly four years.
21.         PW6 Mathew  deposed on oath that at the relevant  time,  he  was
running a tea shop in the locality which was very near the house  where  the
appellant and the deceased used to reside.   According to this  witness,  on
the date of the incident at about 7 p.m., he had closed  his shop to  attend
a meeting  from where he returned at about 8.30 p.m.  He  found  present  at
the shop, Jose, (nephew  of the appellant)  along with others.   After  some
time they dispersed therefrom.
22.         According to the witness, later in  the  evening,  when  he  had
gone  to sleep, the appellant came to his house at about 9 p.m.  and  called
him.  He also called his brother  Benny  and   seemed  to  shout  abuses  at
someone.  The witness along with Jose ran  towards  the  appellant   and  by
that time, they reached the place, they found others gathered as well.   The
appellant disclosed to him that while he was returning to his house, he  was
pushed down by two persons on the way.  The  group  assembled  there,   then
tried to search for these persons but could not trace them.  At  that  time,
Benny, the brother of the appellant developed chest pain and  he  was  taken
to the shop of the witness.  The appellant then  requested  the  witness  to
go to his ancestral house to fetch tablets  for  Benny  whereupon  he  along
with Jackson  did  so.    While  passing  by  the  front  of  the  house  of
appellant, they noticed that the lantern inside was lit  but  the  door  was
open.  They did not see any movement in  the  house.    The  witness  stated
that when  he returned with the tablets, the appellant  enquired  about  the
admit card and prescription  for  extending  treatment  to  Benny.   On  the
request of the appellant thereafter, the witness  along with  Joy  PW7  went
to the house of  the appellant and when they reached there, they called  out
for Neena, but she did not respond.  On this,  they entered  the  house  and
found Neena hanging from hook in the roof of the work area at the  rear  end
of the house.  He and Joy thereafter ran back to the shop  to  inform  about
the incident, whereupon  the appellant and PW1 accompanied them back to  the
house.  The appellant asked Joy PW7 to bring a jeep to  take  Neena  to  the
hospital.  They then retrieved  the body and  took  Neena  to  the  hospital
where she was declared dead.  The witness mentioned that he  had  given  the
earlier statement as per the instructions of the appellant  and   that  when
he was interrogated by the Investigating Officer for  the  second  time,  he
stated the correct facts.
23.         In the cross-examination, the witness was  confronted  with  the
earlier statement that  when he and PW6 had first seen  Neena  hanging,  she
was struggling and  that   they  raised  her  upward  and  raised  alarm  on
listening which the appellant and  others  had  come  running.   He  however
denied the suggestion that he had departed from  the  earlier  statement  on
being influenced by the family members of the Neena.
24.         PW7 Joy was a taxi driver at the relevant time and had  a  jeep.
This witness stated as well that at about 10  p.m.  in  the  fateful  night,
while he was sleeping in  his  house,  two  persons   namely;  Kunjumon  and
Palliparambil called him and  on being asked, requested  him  to  come  with
his jeep as Benny, brother of the  appellant  was  unwell.    On  this,  the
witness reached the shop by PW6  Mathew   with  his  jeep  and  found  Benny
sitting on the bench with the support on the desk.   He  met  the  appellant
who told him that Jackson and Mathew had gone to fetch   tablets  for  Benny
and on their return,  he (Benny) would be taken for medical treatment.   The
witness further stated that  when  Jackson  and  Mathew  returned  with  the
medicines,  the  appellant  enquired  of  them  about  the  admit  card  and
prescription which they  stated   had  not  been  brought.   On  this,   the
appellant requested them to get those papers from his house,  whereupon  the
witness and PW6 proceeded towards the house of the appellant.  This  witness
stated that on reaching  the house of the  appellant,  they  saw  the  front
door thereof to be half open but the kerosene  lantern  inside  was  alight.
As Neena did not respond  to their calls, the witness and PW6   entered  the
house and eventually found Neena hanging from the roof  of the service  area
with a saree.  The witness stated that they ran back, by seeing this to  the
shop of Mathew where they informed the appellant  about  the  incident.   On
hearing this,  the  witness,  PW1  and  PW6  rushed  to  the  house  of  the
appellant.  On the  way,  the  appellant  stopped  a  car  and   sent  Benny
together with Jackson and others  to  the  Medical  College  Hospital.   The
witness stated that at that point of time, the appellant asked him to  bring
the jeep to his house whereafter PW1, the appellant and  others  took  Neena
in his jeep to the hospital where  she  was  declared  dead.   This  witness
admitted that the Investigating Officer  had recorded his  statement  twice.
He conceded that  in the earlier statement, he disclosed  that  it  was  PW1
who had first seen Neena  in a hanging position.   He  added  that   such  a
statement was made on the instruction of the appellant.
25.          In cross-examination,  this  witness  stated  that   his  first
statement was recorded on 22/23.9.2000 at the  Police Station  and  by  then
the appellant had been  arrested   on  21.9.2000.   This  witness  too   was
confronted with his earlier statements.
26.          PW20  Dr.  Hitesh  Sankar   had   conducted   the   post-mortem
examination on the dead body and recorded  swelling on the left side of  the
forehead together with dried blood stains  on the upper part  of  the  nose.
Apart from pressure abrasion on the neck and fracture of  the  greater  horn
of hyoid bone  of the left side, he deposed about contusions  and  abrasions
on the  forehead,  eye  brow,  nose  and  jaw.   He  mentioned  about  scalp
contusions as internal injuries.
27.         In his opinion, as expressed in his examination  in  chief,  the
findings  in  the  post  mortem  were  consistent   with    death   due   to
strangulation followed by hanging  and  further  that  the  facial  injuries
were  suggestive of attempted smothering. He  thereafter   answered  in  the
affirmative to various leading questions to  indicate  amongst  others  that
the linear abrasion  under the neck could be caused by  applying  a  plastic
rope as per the material exhibit shown to him.  He also   responded  to  one
of the leading queries that the fracture of thyroid bone  could  be  due  to
strangulation.
28.         In his cross-examination, the  witness  however  in  categorical
terms conceded that he could not  say  as  to  whether  it  was  a  case  of
suicidal or homicidal  hanging.   The  witness  conceded  that  he  had  not
noticed any blood stain on the material exhibit i.e.  plastic  rope  or  any
stretch mark thereon.  He also admitted of not noticing any  fibre  particle
on the rope or on the neck of the deceased.  He conceded as well that  there
was no contusion/laceration on the  inner  aspect  of  the  lips  which  are
normal feature in the case of smothering. He also negatived the presence  of
other attendant  signs  in  case  of  death  due  to  asphyxia  preceded  by
smothering.  He however affirmed that the  ligature  mark  or  the  abrasion
found on the neck was suggestive of hanging.   He  admitted   as  well  that
hyoid and thyroid fracture could be caused due  to  pull  up  of  heightened
noose moving up  during hanging.  He admitted of not  having  mentioned  any
injury of nail mark in the post-mortem certificate.
29.         Apart from the fact that the nylon rope Ex.MO4  and  the  broken
pieces of  glass bangles had been recovered and seized from under a cot   in
the dining room, away from the site of hanging, the report of  the  chemical
examiner Ex.P20 did not disclose  any  blood  stain  on  the  plastic  rope.
Though was indicated presence of  hairs of human origin on  the  said  rope,
it was clarified that no definite opinion could be given as to  whether  the
hairs belonged to a male or a female.  To reiterate, the  doctor, PW20  also
had affirmed that he did not notice any blood stain on the  nylon  rope  and
instead added that neither was there any stretch mark  thereon  nor  did  he
notice any fibre particle thereof on the neck of the deceased.
30.         Though the prosecution had  examined  several  other  witnesses,
their testimony  being not of any decisive relevance would  not  be  dilated
upon.  The Investigating Officer of  the  case,  however,  in  his  evidence
amongst others admitted that the nylon  rope  and  the  bangle  pieces  were
recovered from the dining room.  This also finds support  from  the  seizure
list Ex. P-4.
31.         The appellant in his statement under  Section  313  Cr.P.C.,  in
reply to the incriminating circumstances laid before him,  stated   that  he
had resigned from police service as per the  wishes  of  Neena  and  due  to
financial stringency  and had gone to Saudi  Arabia  on  12.9.1997  and  had
returned  on  21.8.2000.   According  to  him,  there  was  an  abiding  and
affectionate relationship between the couple and  that  they  had  two  sons
Akhil and Nikhil.  He referred to the letters written by Neena to him  while
he was abroad, amongst others to demonstrate the veracity of  his  statement
about the warm relationship which he shared with Neena.   He  also  asserted
to have sent money to Neena  and the children for their sustenance and  also
referred to the relevant documents in endorsement  thereof.    He  mentioned
about their visit to Potta on 16.9.2000 and their return on  19.9.2000.   He
narrated the defence version as adverted to  herienabove  and  claimed  that
death of Neena had occurred due to suicide committed by her and  denied  the
charge levelled against him and his  brother  Benny.   He  however  admitted
that after six years of the incident, on the insistence of his  parents,  he
had married with one lady named Anna.  He alleged that the  prosecution  had
been launched  by her in-laws who were hostile towards him.
32.         The appellant in his defence, examined his  son  Akhil  as  DW1,
who at the relevant time, had finished his studies and was  working  in  the
production section at Fortune Hotel, Kozhikode.  He  deposed  on  oath  that
during his academic years, he  resided  with  his  mother  and  his  younger
brother named Nikhil.   He  stated  that   the  appellant,  his  father  was
initially in the police service from where he  resigned  and  went  to  Gulf
for work in the year 1997 and  had returned in  August,  2000.   He  deposed
that during the time his father was away, he used to stay  with  his  mother
and younger brother in their house at Edattankuzhiyil.   He  confirmed  that
the relationship between  his  mother  and  father  was  very  cordial.   He
denied the appellant's association with a lady named Darly and as  a  matter
of fact expressed ignorance  about  her.   The  witness  admitted  that  the
appellant used to send money while he was away by drafts and that  he  along
with his mother used to go to the bank for that purpose.  He  also  affirmed
that the appellant used to be in touch with them through letters  and  phone
calls.  The witness  proved two  letters  marked  Ex  D4  &  D4A  which   he
admitted to have been written by his mother to the appellant.  He  testified
that as well  that even after the return of the  appellant  from  the  Gulf,
his dealings with the mother  and vice versa were warm and endearing.
33.         This witness endorsed  the fact as well that he met his  parents
 on 19.9.2000 at about 7.30 p.m. when  they   alighted  from  the  bus  from
Potta and were proceeding towards their  house.   He  stated  that  at  that
point of time, he was also returning home with some household  articles  and
thus he accompanied his mother back home while  his  father,  the  appellant
went in search of labourers  for the next day work  in  his  compound.   The
witness stated that on their return, his mother prepared snacks,  whereafter
she told her to carry some articles to the ancestral house  and  accordingly
he did so.   The witness however added  that  though  he   waited   for  his
parents to come to the ancestral house, they did not do so and  he  came  to
learn about the death of his mother in the next morning.
34.         In cross-examination, though this witness  categorically  denied
the suggestions put on behalf of the  prosecution  to   project  him  to  be
untruthful, he  disclosed that on the date of the incident,  he   found  his
mother to be under some mental  stress.   He  however,  in  definite  terms,
denied   that when he met the appellant and  his  mother  together  for  the
last time, there did not appear to be  any strained  feelings between them.
35.          The  testimony  of  the  appellant  on  oath  as  DW2  is   the
replication of the defence version as already outlined  and  does  not  call
for reiteration.  He however proved the  two  letters  dated  28.2.2000  and
7.6.2000 written by the deceased to him and marked as Ex. D4  and  D4A.   He
however mentioned that Neena  was not happy for the early  return  from  the
divine retreat and repeated that having disembarked from  the  bus  at  7.30
p.m., he sent Neena with his elder son Akhil back home, while  he   went  in
search of labourers for the next day's work.  He stated that  while  he  was
proceeding towards his house later in the evening,  two  persons  came  from
the opposite direction, whom he failed to  identify,  pushed  him  down  for
which he suffered injuries on his hand.  He thereafter  shouted  to  attract
people so as to apprehend these persons, but in vain.  He  referred  to  the
illness of his brother  at  that  point  of  time  and  repeated  the  facts
pertaining to the events that occurred thereafter leading  to the  discovery
 that Neena had  hanged herself from the hook of the  ceiling  of  the  work
area of their house.
36.         In  cross-examination,  amongst  others,  he  admitted  to  have
brought down Neena by cutting  the noose  with the help  of  other  persons.
He admitted as well his second marriage with Anna @ Darly.
37.         DW3  Babu stated  about the search made in the evening   of  the
date of the incident  of the persons, who according to  the  appellant,  had
pushed him down on his way to his house.  He also stated   about  the  chest
pain of Benny, brother of the appellant while the search was in progress.
38.         As the impugned judgement would disclose, the  High  Court  took
note amongst others of the factum of second marriage of the  appellant  with
the lady Anna @ Darly as stated to be proved by the  evidence  adduced.   It
also took note of the fact that the couple had gone for the  divine  retreat
for a week by arranging the stay of the children at the ancestral house  but
returned early.  It disbelieved  the  testimony  of  DW1,  the  son  of  the
appellant, construing it to be partisan   in  favour  of  the  appellant  in
order to save him, in the circumstances.  His  testimony  was  discarded  as
not of a prudent son otherwise expected to  be sensitive  to  the  death  of
his mother.  The High Court  denounced the DW1 to be untruthful, for  having
expressing his ignorance about the second  wife  of  the  appellant  Anna  @
Darly.  It thus concluded that sans the evidence of DW1,  there  is  nothing
on record to demonstrate that the appellant did not accompany  his  wife  to
the house that evening, whereafter she was not found alive.
39.         Apart from the  “last  seen  together”  index,  the  High  Court
accepted  the  other  perceived  incriminating  circumstances  against   the
appellant  namely  his  illicit  intimacy  with  Anna@   Darly,  absence  of
explanation of his whereabouts after 7 P.M. till his presence  in  the  shop
of PW6 Mathew, recovery of broken bangles of the deceased from   the  dining
room indicating a struggle,  nail   mark   found  on  the  forehead  of  the
appellant suggesting resistance from  the deceased and want of  satisfactory
explanation as to under what circumstances the deceased  was  found  hanging
in the house of the couple.
40.         The High  Court  rejected  the  defence  story  of  two  persons
pushing the appellant down on his way to his house in the evening  and  also
commented on his conduct of not rushing to the house as  a  prudent  husband
and instead arranging for the conveyance of his brother to take him  to  the
hospital even after being told that his wife had been found hanging  in  the
house.  On a consideration of the totality of the  circumstances,  the  High
Court thus deduced that the death  of Neena  was homicidal and affirmed  the
conviction of the appellant as recorded by the Trial Court.
41.         In this contentious backdrop, Mr. Basant has emphatically  urged
 that in the absence of any eye witness of the occurrence and  a  convincing
and complete chain of  circumstantial  evidence   unerringly  attesting  the
guilt of the appellant, his conviction for  murder,  in  the  teeth  of  the
acquittal of the  co-accused  Benny,  his  brother,   is  patently  illegal.
Asserting that the evidence as a whole does  unmistakably  demonstrate  that
the deceased had committed suicide, the learned  senior  counsel  has  urged
that the acquittal of the appellant and his co-accused of the  charge  under
Section  498A  IPC  also  belies  the  imputation   of   his   extra-marital
association with the lady Darly as alleged by  the  prosecution.   According
to him, the  narration in the first information report  authored by PW1  and
the statement of PW6 in the inquest report at the  earliest  point  of  time
though authenticate the correct state of affairs, the attempt  on  the  part
of the investigating agency  to  improve  thereon  by  re-recording  of  the
statements of these witnesses along with that of PW7 was only to frame   the
appellant in particular at the behest of his in-laws.
42.         In any view of  the  matter,  Mr.  Basant  has  urged  that  the
interrogation of these witnesses after time lag of  almost  four  years  and
too on the eve of submission of the charge-sheet, lays-bare   the  stratagem
of  the  investigating  agency  to  prosecute  him  on  otherwise  unfounded
allegations.  The learned senior counsel has  insisted  that  not  only  the
testimony of PW1, PW6, PW7 and PW20, the doctor who had performed the  post-
mortem examination  is consistent with the innocence of the  appellant,   it
is apparent  from the documentary evidence  more  particularly  the  letters
Ex. D4 and D4A written by the deceased to him that  there was  a  subsisting
loving and affectionate relationship between them till  the  demise  of  the
former.   He  has  argued  that  the  medical  evidence  having  failed   to
convincingly prove that the deceased had  died  of  homicidal  hanging,  the
seizure of the nylon  rope and broken pieces of bangles from under  the  cot
of the  adjoining dining room pales into insignificance.  It has been  urged
that the evidence of the son of the appellant, who was a major at  the  time
of  his   deposition   with   the   desired   maturity   of   understanding,
overwhelmingly establishes his innocence, there being no  persuasive  reason
for the witness to lie in his favour and against his mother.
43.         According to Mr. Basant,  the  courts  below  grossly  erred  in
discarding his evidence being  unworthy  of  credit,  branding  him   to  be
insensitive to the death of his mother and pretentious in  faking  ignorance
of the lady named Anna @ Darly and her  alleged  extra-marital  relationship
with the appellant. The  learned  senior  counsel  has  maintained  that  in
absence of any concrete evidence of the alleged illicit  nexus  between  the
appellant and the lady named Anna @ Darly, his marriage with  her   did  not
ipso facto  establish  the  imputation.   Mr.  Basant  has  urged  that  the
circumstantial evidence relied upon by the prosecution   is  incoherent  and
insufficient in  form,  continuity  and  content  and  falls  short  of  the
legally prescribed  standards to return a finding  of  guilt  on  the  basis
thereof.  Reliance has been placed  on  the  decisions  of  this  Court   in
Sharad Birdhichand Sarda  vs. State of Maharashtra (1984)4 SCC 116   and  R.
Rajendran Nair vs. State of Kerala  (1998) SCC (Crl.) 254
44.         In refutation, the  learned  counsel  for  the  respondents  has
maintained that the circumstantial evidence  available on  the  record  does
amply establish the complicity of the appellant in the  gruesome  murder  of
the deceased, his wife by strangulation with the aid of a nylon rope  seized
and then suspending her from the roof of the work area by using a  saree  as
a ligature. The guilt of the appellant,   according  to  the  learned  state
counsel, inter alia is unerringly deducible  from his   unusual  conduct  of
not rushing back home even after being informed of the incident and  instead
in arranging for a conveyance for his brother to the hospital.  Further,  he
did not act as a prudent husband, even if his story of being pushed down  by
two strangers is believed in not hurrying back to his house  to  ensure  the
safety of his wife, the deceased. It has been argued that deceased was  seen
alive last in the company of the appellant when they alighted from  the  bus
at 7.30 p.m. in the same evening.  According to the learned  state  counsel,
the testimony of DW1, the son of the appellant is wholly  untrustworthy,  it
being  partisan and untruthful and in that view of the  matter,  the  mishap
having occurred  inside the house in which the  couple  used  to  live,  the
appellant, in absence of any explanation  for the episode, has been  rightly
held to be guilty of the offence charged by both the courts  below.  It  has
been argued  that the medical evidence fully  substantiates  the  charge  of
murder levelled against the appellant and the prosecution having  been  able
to prove that the motive therefor being to eliminate the deceased  in  order
to facilitate the consummation  of the  otherwise  illicit  relationship  of
his with Anna @ Darly, no interference with his conviction is  warranted  in
the facts and circumstances of  the  case.   The  fact  that  the  appellant
eventually married the said lady, amply establishes the charge as  well,  he
urged.
45.         The arguments exchanged have received our anxious  consideration
cumulatively with the evidence  on  record.  Admittedly  there  is  no  eye-
witness to the incident.  The endeavour  of  the  prosecution,  however  has
been to demonstrate that after the couple had  returned  from  Pota  in  the
evening of the date of the episode, they returned home  and  thereafter  the
appellant had committed the murder of his wife Neena by first  strangulating
her with the nylon rope that was recovered from under the cot in the  dining
room and then had hanged her from the hook of the roof of the  service  area
by  using  a  saree  as  a  ligature.   This  inference,  according  to  the
prosecution, is inevitable from the attendant facts and circumstances.   The
quality and  the decisiveness of  such  evidence,  therefore,  would  be  of
determinative relevance.
46.         Aside the aspect that PWs 1, 6 and 7 had been examined twice  by
the investigating agency at the interval of almost four years, we have  been
left unconvinced by the peripheral variations  in their statements so as  to
infer the complicity of the  appellant  on  the  basis  of  their  attempted
departure from their versions  recorded  at  the  earliest  point  of  time.
Though  these  witnesses  have  been  sought  to  be  discredited   by   the
prosecution vis-a-vis their earlier statements allegedly made at the  behest
of the appellant, the essence of their testimony qua the  incident  and  the
attendant facts and circumstances  has  remained  the  same  barring  a  few
inconsequential   inconsistencies.    Noticeably,   there   is   no   reason
forthcoming for re-examining these witnesses after almost four years and  on
the verge of  the  submission  of  the  charge-sheet.   The  plea  of  false
implication at the instance of the inimical members of  the  family  of  the
deceased in this context thus assumes significance.
47.         Suffice it to recount that the testimony  of  PWs  1,  6  and  7
would evince that when the persons sent by the  appellant  had  reached  the
house of the appellant to fetch the medical records of  his  brother  Benny,
they found the door open and when the deceased  did  not  respond  to  their
call, they entered through the door and found her in a hanging posture  with
movements, whereupon they raised alarm for which the  appellant  and  others
rushed to the place and the  body  of  the  deceased  was  brought  down  by
cutting the saree.  Though the conduct and the movements  of  the  appellant
prior thereto had been somewhat unusual and disoriented, the same per se  in
our estimate does not irrefutably establish his culpability.

48.         The medical evidence as elaborated  hereinabove  also  does  not
decisively establish the case to be of homicidal hanging.  The  unchallenged
expositions  of  the  doctor  performing  the   post-   mortem   examination
highlighting the absence  of  the  characteristic  attributes  attendant  on
death due to homicidal hanging  following  strangulation  further  reinforce
the possibility of suicide. The absence of definite  medical  opinion  about
the homicidal death of the deceased in our comprehension is  a  serious  set
back to the prosecution.


49.          The  evidence  of  the   eye-witnesses   when   considered   in
conjunction with the testimony of the doctor does  not  link  the  appellant
directly or indirectly with the actual act leading to  the  unnatural  death
of the deceased.  In absence of any persuasive evidence to hold that at  the
relevant time the appellant was present in  the  house,  it  would  also  be
impermissible to cast any burden on him as contemplated  under  Section  106
of the Evidence Act.  The consistent testimony of the appellant and his  son
to the effect that after alighting from the bus on their return  from  Pota,
the deceased was made to accompany DW1 back home while the appellant did  go
in search of labourers for works in his compound on the next  day  and  that
thereafter till the time DW1 had  departed  for  his  ancestral  house,  the
appellant did not return home, consolidates the defence  plea  of  innocence
of the appellant.


50.         This version of the appellant and his son is in accord with  the
statement made by the appellant  under Section 313 Cr.P.C. as well.   Though
the courts below have dismissed the testimony of DW1  as  untrustworthy,  he
having feigned  ignorance  about  the  lady  Darly   with  whom  his  father
allegedly had extra  marital  affairs  and  was  construed  to  be  partisan
towards the appellant and insensitive to the death of  his  mother,  we  are
unable to lend our concurrence to these reasonings.   This  witness  at  the
time of his deposition was a major with the required maturity in the  life's
perspectives, and in our assessment expectedly would not have lied  for  the
appellant, his father, only to see him through, though  knowing  him  to  be
the real perpetrator of the crime. This is more so  when  the  deceased  was
his own mother.


51.         The prosecution plea that the appellant had  resigned  from  the
service in the police department to move out to  Jeddah/Saudi  Arabia   with
the intention to perpetuate his illicit  association  with  the  lady  Darly
thereat and that in a way he had deserted the deceased and the children,  is
also not borne out definitively by the materials on record.   On  the  other
hand, a plain perusal of the letters  Ex.  D4  and  Ex.D4A  written  by  the
deceased to the appellant while he  was  abroad,  do  not  reveal  anguished
outbursts of a wife otherwise expected in such a situation  or  any  fervent
insistence for early return.  Instead the contents thereof reveal  narration
of mundane happenings of day to day life,  emphasis  on  the  need  for  his
required stay thereat for enhanced savings together with  somewhat  intimate
feelings expected of a married couple physically estranged by compulsion  of
circumstances.  The letters for the least, do not  suggest  any  bitterness,
disappointment, frustration and seething indignation  of  the  deceased  for
the appellant being away at  Jeddah/Saudi  Arabia  and  allegedly  with  the
lady, Darly.  Instead there are traces of cheer for his expected  return  in
near future.  The authenticity of these letters  and  also  of  the  records
relied upon by the defence to demonstrate that the  appellant  while  abroad
used to remit  money  for  the  sustenance  of  the  family,  has  not  been
impeached.


52.         On  an  overall  consideration  of  the  evidence  available  on
record, it would be, in our  view,  wholly  unsafe  to  hold  the  appellant
guilty of the charge of murder of his wife by  strangulating  her  with  the
nylon rope as seized and then hanging her from the roof with  the  saree  to
complete the act. The circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution  in
our assessment falls short of the requirement in law to return a finding  of
guilt against the appellant without any element of  doubt  whatsoever.   The
fact that both the accused persons had been  exonerated  of  the  charge  of
cruelty under Section  498A IPC and that the co-accused, who  allegedly  had
assisted the appellant in the perpetration  of  the  crime  had  been  fully
acquitted by the courts below of all the charges  also  takes away the  wind
from the sails of the prosecution.


53.         It is a trite proposition of law, that suspicion however  grave,
it cannot take the  place of proof and that  the  prosecution  in  order  to
succeed on a criminal charge cannot afford to lodge its case  in  the  realm
of “may be true” but has to essentially elevate it to the grade of “must  be
true”.  In a criminal prosecution, the court has a duty to ensure that  mere
conjectures or suspicion do not take the place  of  legal  proof  and  in  a
situation where a reasonable doubt is entertained in  the  backdrop  of  the
evidence available,  to prevent miscarriage of justice, benefit of doubt  is
to be extended  to  the  accused.   Such  a  doubt  essentially  has  to  be
reasonable and not imaginary, fanciful, intangible or  non-existent  but  as
entertainable by an impartial, prudent and analytical mind,  judged  on  the
touch stone of reason and common sense.  It is also  a  primary  postulation
in criminal jurisprudence that if two views are  possible  on  the  evidence
available, one pointing to the guilt of the accused and  the  other  to  his
innocence, the one favourable to the accused ought to be adopted.


54.         The facts as obtained  in the  present  case  present  a  jigsaw
puzzle in which several frames are missing to permit an  unreserved  opinion
of  the complicity of the appellant.


55.         The inalienable interface of presumption of  innocence  and  the
burden of proof in a criminal case on the prosecution  has  been  succinctly
expounded in the following passage from the treatise “The Law  of  Evidence”
fifth edition by Ian Dennis  at page 445:

“The presumption of innocence  states  that  a  person  is  presumed  to  be
innocent until proven  guilty.   In  one  sense  this  simply  restates   in
different language the rule that the burden of proof in a criminal  case  is
on the prosecution to prove the defendant's guilt. As explained  above,  the
burden of proof rule has a number of functions, one of which is  to  provide
a rule of decision  for  the  factfinder  in  a  situation  of  uncertainty.
Another function is to allocate the risk of misdecision in criminal  trials.
 Because the outcome  of wrongful conviction is regarded as a  significantly
worse  harm than wrongful  acquittal the  rule   is  constructed  so  as  to
minimise the risk of the former.  The burden of  overcoming   a  presumption
that the defendant is innocent therefore requires the  state  to  prove  the
defendant's guilt.”


56.         The  above  quote   thus  seemingly   concede  a  preference  to
wrongful acquittal compared  to the risk of wrongful  conviction.   Such  is
the  abiding  jurisprudential  concern   to   eschew   even   the   remotest
possibility of unmerited conviction.


57.          This applies with full force particularly  in  fact  situations
where  the  charge  is  the  sought  to  be  established  by  circumstantial
evidence. These enunciations are so well entrenched that we do not  wish  to
burden the present narration by referring to the decisions of this Court  in
this regard.


58.         Addressing this aspect, however, is the following  extract  also
from the same treatise “The Law of Evidence” fifth edition by Ian Dennis  at
page 483:

“Where the case against the accused  depends wholly or partly on  inferences
from circumstantial evidence, factfinders cannot logically   convict  unless
they are  sure  that  inferences  of  guilt  are  the  only  ones  that  can
reasonably be drawn.   If  they  think  that  there  are  possible  innocent
explanations for circumstantial evidence that are not “merely fanciful”,  it
must follow that there is a reasonable doubt   about  guilt.   There  is  no
rule, however, that  judges must direct  juries  in  terms  not  to  convict
unless they are sure that the  evidence  bears  no  other  explanation  than
guilt.   It  is  sufficient  to  direct   simply  that  the  burden  on  the
prosecution is to satisfy the jury beyond reasonable doubt, or so that  they
are sure.

The very high standard of proof required in  criminal  cases  minimises  the
risk of  a  wrongful  conviction.   It  means  that  someone  whom,  on  the
evidence, the factfinder believes is “probably” guilty, or  “likely”  to  be
guilty will be acquitted, since these judgements of probability  necessarily
admit that the factfinder  is not “sure”.  It  is  generally  accepted  that
some at least of these acquittals will be of persons who are in fact  guilty
of the offences charged, and who would  be  convicted  if  the  standard  of
proof were the lower civil standard of the balance of  probabilities.   Such
acquittals are the price paid for the safeguard   provided  by  the  “beyond
reasonable doubt” standard  against wrongful conviction.”




59.         A reference in the passing however to the of quoted decision  in
Sharad Birdhichand Sarda (supra) construed to  be  locus  classicus  on  the
relevance and decisiveness of circumstantial evidence  as  a  proof  of  the
charge of a criminal offence would  not  be  out  of  place.   The  relevant
excerpts from paragraph 153 of the decision is extracted herein below.

“153.(2) The facts  so established   should  be  consistent  only  with  the
hypothesis of the guilt  of the accused...they  should  not  be  explainable
on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty.

(3) the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency.

            *                  *                    *
(5) there  must be a chain of evidence  so complete  as  not  to  leave  any
reasonable ground for  the conclusion  consistent with the innocence of  the
accused and must show that in all human probability the act must  have  been
done by the accused.”




60.         As recent as in  Sujit Biswas vs. State of Assam (2013)  12  SCC
406, this Court also in the  contextual  facts  constituting  circumstantial
evidence  ruled  that  in  judging  the  culpability  of  an  accused,   the
circumstances adduced when collectively considered must  lead  to  the  only
irresistible conclusion that the accused  alone  is  the  perpetrator  of  a
crime  in   question  and  the  circumstances  established  must  be  of   a
conclusive nature consistent only with the hypothesis of the  guilt  of  the
accused.


61.         In  Dhan Raj @ Dhand vs. State of Haryana (2014) 6 SCC 745,  one
of us (Hon. Ghose,J.) while dwelling on the imperatives  of   circumstantial
evidence  ruled that the same has to be  of highest  order  to  satisfy  the
test of proof  in a criminal  prosecution.   It  was  underlined  that  such
circumstantial evidence  should  establish  a  complete  unbroken  chain  of
events so that only one inference  of guilt of the accused  would  ensue  by
excluding all possible hypothesis  of his innocence.  It was  held   further
that in case of circumstantial evidence, each circumstance  must  be  proved
beyond reasonable doubt by independent evidence   excluding  any  chance  of
surmise or conjecture.


62.         Judged on  the  above  parameters,  we  are  of  the  unhesitant
opinion  that  the  evidence  adduced  by   the   prosecution   constituting
circumstantial evidence in  support  of  the  charge  does  not  furnish  an
unassailable basis to hold the appellant guilty  of  the  charge  of  murder
levelled against him.  The facts and circumstances  admit  of  a  reasonable
doubt in his favour.


63.         The circumstances brought forth by the prosecution do  not  rule
out in absolute terms the hypothesis of the innocence of the appellant.   We
thus consider it to be wholly unsafe to maintain his conviction as  recorded
by the courts below. We are therefore inclined to extend  benefit  of  doubt
to him. The conclusions drawn by the courts below are  not  tenable  on  the
basis of the evidence available.    The  appeal  is  thus  allowed  and  the
conviction and sentence recorded by the courts below is  hereby  set  aside.
The appellant be released from the jail forthwith if he is not  required  in
any other case.




                                  …….....……………………..….J.
                                  (PINAKI CHANDRA GHOSE)



……....……………………..….J.
NEW DELHI;                  (AMITAVA ROY)
OCTOBER 3, 2016.

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