R.S.SODHI, J. -
(1.) Criminal Appeal No.376 of 2004 seeks to challenge judgment and order of Additional Sessions Judge, New Delhi in Sessions Case No.43 of 1999, arising out of F.I.R. No.141 of 1999, registered at Police Station Inder Puri, whereby the learned judge vide her judgment dated 30.1.2004 has held the appellant, Pritam Kumar, guilty for offence under Sections 364-A and 302 IPC. Further vide her order dated 5.2.2004, has sentenced the appellant to life imprisonment together with fine of Rs.5,000/- and in default of payment of fine, simple imprisonment for three months under Section 302 IPC. The appellant was further sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs.2,000/- and in default of payment of fine, simple imprisonment for one month under Section 364-A IPC. Both the sentences were directed to run concurrently. However, the appellant was awarded the benefit of Section 428 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
(2.) Brief facts of the case as have been noted by the learned Additional Sessions Judge in the judgment under challenge are as under :-
'..... that on 29.5.99, the complainant, Lal Babu came to the Police Station and got recorded his statement to the effect that he is resident of WZ-42, Village Das Dhera, New Delhi. He is residing with his family members and is doing the business of book binding in Azad Market. His wife Lalita is doing private job in village Naraina; he has three sons and his elder son Abhilash Kumar is doing private job in Karol Bagh and remaining two sons, named, Tinkoo and Parkash are studying in Rajender Nagar. He has further stated that on 28.5.99, he alongwith his wife went for their job and his two sons were at home. His wife got the information in the factory that their son Parkash is missing. Then, his wife came back to the house and searched for her son in the nearby area and when she could not trace him, then, they lodged the report with the police and then, his wife started searching for her son alongwith the police. At about 8 P.M., Pritam, who is the son of the brother of their landlord, told his wife that one letter is lying outside their house, then, his wife picked up that letter and she read that letter and after reading the letter, she got perplexed. At about 9 P.M., when he back to home, his wife told him everything and also told that as per the letter, they have to arrange for Rs.35,000/-. At about 6 a.m., next morning, they have to keep this money near Hanuman Mandir and tie the same on a pole of Mandir. It was also written in that letter that in case some trick is played, then, they will not be able to see the face of their son. On the next morning, at about 6 a.m., he alongwith his wife went to Hanuman Mandir but could not find any person and then, they came back and he alongwith his wife had suspicion on Pritam that he might have taken their son with a view to extract money from them. On the basis of this statement, the FIR was got registered. The investigation was handed over to SI K.K. Mishra and he alongwith Ct. Virender and the complainant went in search of the accused and the Duty Officer sent the information by Special Messenger. During the investigation, the I.O. recorded the statement of Smt. Lalita and interrogated accused Pritam Kumar as the complainant was having suspicion on him and on interrogation, the accused admitted his mistake, then, he was arrested and his disclosure statement was recorded and then, the accused led the police party to DDA park, R Block hill area Rajender Nagar jungle as per his disclosure statement, took them near electric pole and pointed out towards pit and told the police that the dead body of Golu is underneath the stones. The dead body was recovered from that pit and the complainant identified the dead body of his son. Thereafter, Section 302 IPC was added in the FIR. Crime team was called, the spot was got photographed and the exhibits, i.e., the blood stained stones, blood stained earth and dry earth were taken into possession and postmortem over the dead body of Parkash @ Golu was got conducted. The cause of death was opined by the doctor as cramocerebral injuries caused by blunt force with a hard and blunt object. Thereafter, the specimen handwriting of the accused was taken and was sent to F.S.L. along with the letter alleged to have been written by the accused and expert opinion was collected in this regard on 28.6.99. The other exhibits were also sent to F.S.L., Malviya Nagar. After completion of investigation, the challan was filed. The case committed to the court of Sessions. After hearing the accused, the charge under Section 364-A/302 IPC was framed to which the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.'
(3.) The prosecution in order to establish its case examined as many as 18 witnesses. Of these, the most material one's are PW-5, Lal Babu, father of the deceased; PW-6, Lalita, mother of the deceased; PW-11, Surender, neighbour, as also the medical evidence and scientific evidence. It is contended by learned counsel for the appellant that there are considerable contradictions in the statement of PW-5, Lal Babu, whose statement ought not to be relied upon. He submits that Lal Babu has grossly improved his case in court which clearly shows that Lal Babu would go to any length to have the appellant convicted. He compares the statement of PW-5, Lal Babu, with statement of PW-6, Lalita, mother of the deceased, to show that Lal Babu's statement is in contradiction with that of Lalita inasmuch as after having received the ransom letter, both husband and wife, on the following morning placed Rs.3,000/- at the appointed place and saw the appellant coming to take it. According to Lal Babu, he apprehended the accused at the Hanuman Mandir itself and handed him over to the police along with letter whereas Lalita states that the accused ran away after seeing them and that both came back home and thereafter her husband Lal Babu went to inform the police. Learned counsel submits that this contradiction goes to the root of the matter which makes the prosecution's case doubtful.;