Decided on January 16,2017

Raju Durgaprasad Gupta Appellant


A.S.CHANDURKAR,J. - (1.) The appellants, who are eight in number, have challenged their conviction in Sessions Trial No. 47 of 2012 vide Judgment dated 26th March, 2015 of offences punishable under Sections 302, 143, 147 to 149 of the Indian Penal Code [for short "the Code"]. They have been sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for life and pay a fine of Rs. 5,000-00 each for the offence punishable under Section 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code. Further sentence is to suffer rigorous imprisonment for periods ranging from six months to two years for offences punishable under Sections 143, 147 and 148 of the Code.
(2.) It is the case of the prosecution that on 10th November, 2011, the complainant - Vijaysingh Chavan along with his brother - Ajay alias Ketu was proceeding by a motorcycle near the grocery shop of one Raju Jaiswal. At that time, Raju Gupta - Accused No.1 had asked Ketu to stop the vehicle and after abusing him, had struck him with a sharp edged weapon near his neck and cheek. Other accused nos. 2 to 8 assaulted him with various weapons on his entire person, as a result of which, Ketu sustained bleeding injuries. The complainant rushed to his house and returned with his brother - Shailesh and a relative - Santosh. They took Ketu to the hospital, but he was declared dead. A report thereafter came to be lodged leading to registration of the crime. After completion of the investigations, the case was committed to the Sessions Court. The appellants did not plead guilty and hence were tried. At the conclusion of the trial, the appellants came to be convicted in the manner stated herein above. Being aggrieved, the present appeals have been filed.
(3.) Shri Anil Mardikar, the learned Senior Counsel for the appellants in Criminal Appeal No. 180 of 2015, and Shri R.M. Daga, the learned Counsel for the appellants in Criminal Appeal No. 189 of 2015, challenged the conviction of the appellants on various counts. It was submitted that the version of PW 1 - Vijay Chavan was full of various inconsistencies which rendered his version improbable. His deposition indicated conduct which was not possible, especially when his brother was the victim. The alleged assault was stated to have taken place at about 7.00 p.m. in the month of November when it was already dark. There was nothing on record to indicate that there was sufficient light available for PW 1 to identify the accused. There was considerable delay in lodging the report, inasmuch as Ketu was immediately shifted to the hospital which they had reached within twenty-twenty-five minutes of the assault. Despite that the report came to be lodged at 10.30 p.m., which, in the present facts, was quite delayed. Moreover, the police station was very near to the Government Hospital. It was then urged that though the clothes of said witness as well as the motorcycle had blood stains, the said material was not seized by the police. It was then submitted that the seizure effected by the Investigating Officer of the clothes of the accused was almost after two days from their arrest. The incriminating weapons were not sealed when they were forwarded to the forensic laboratory. Referring to the deposition of other witnesses, it was submitted that their version did not corroborate the version of PW 1 nor did it support the case of the prosecution. It was, therefore, submitted that the learned Judge of the Sessions Court was not justified in basing the conviction of the appellants on such material which did not prove the guilt of the appellants beyond reasonable doubt. In support of their submissions, the learned counsel placed reliance on the judgments of Honourable Supreme Court in [1] State of Rajasthan v. Teja Singh and others [(2001) 3 SCC 147], and [2] State of Punjab v. Harbans Singh [(2003) 11 SCC 203], and judgments of this Court in [a] Kailash Raghunath Ambekar and another v. State of Maharashtra [2004 ALL MR (Cri) 3257], [b] Kiran Ashok Jadhav v. State of Maharashtra [2014 ALL MR (Cri) 3850], [c] Suryabhan Dattu Kharat and others v. State of Maharashtra [2016 ALL MR (Cri) 3785] and judgment dated 28th August, 2015 in Criminal Appeal No. 172/2013 with connected appeals.;

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