(1.) By this appeal, the appellant / accused is challenging the judgment and order dated 30 th September 2014 passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Ichalkaranji, District Kolhapur, in Sessions Case No.9 of 2010, thereby convicting him of offences punishable under Sections 307 and 341 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). For the offence punishable under Section 307 of the IPC, he is sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life so also to pay fine of Rs.2,000/ and in default, to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for 3 months. For the offence punishable under Section 341 of the IPC, he is sentenced to suffer simple imprisonment for 1 month.
(2.) Facts leading to the institution of the present appeal can be summarized thus :
(a) Victim of this crime is PW1/Surekha Kamble. She is sister of Ranjana Sukumar Kamble ? wife of the appellant / accused Sukuram Kamble. First marriage of PW1/Surekha Kamble took place with Deepak Kamat. After death of said Deepak Kamat, Surekha performed second marriage. PW1/Surekha Kamble was in employment of I.D.B.I. Bank, Ichalkaranji Branch, as a peon. She was residing at Village Dattawad, Taluka Shirol, in Kolhapur district. She used to undertake to and fro journey Ichalkaranji.
(b) The appellant / accused Sukumar Kallappa Kamble along with his wife Ranjana and son Nirman used to reside at Village Abdullat. However, after two years of his marriage, the appellant / accused Sukumar started treating his wife Ranjana with cruelty by suspecting her character after consuming alcohol. Hence, Dinkar Kamble ? father of Ranjana, brought her as well as her son Nirman to her parental house at Village Dattawad.
(c). The incident in question allegedly took place on 9th February 2009. After performing her duty at the bank, PW1/Surekha Kamble was returning by walk towards S.T. Bus Stand of Ichalkaranji for boarding the bus for going to her house at Dattawad. On her way to bus stop in front of hotel Amrut, the appellant / accused Sukumar accosted her. He was armed with scythe (koita). Then he assaulted PW1/Surekha Kamble by means of that scythe (koita) on her head, neck, face, both upper limbs as well as stomach. In this murderous assault, according to prosecution case, right hand of PW1/Surekha Kamble got chopped off and she sustained several injuries.
(d) Police got information of the incident which was witnessed by PW5 Krishna Dhumal and PW6 Santosh Dhatunde. Police came on the spot. Injured PW1/Surekha Kamble was then taken by auto rickshaw driven by PW2 Sanjay Wadagave to IGM Hospital, Ichalkaranji. At that hospital, on 9th February 2009 itself, her First Information Report (FIR) (Exhibit 34) came to be recorded by PW9 Bharat Suryawanshi, P.S.I., working with Shivaji Nagar Police Station, which resulted in registration of Crime No.26 of 2009 for the offence punishable under Section 307 of the IPC with Shivaji Nagar Police Station, Ichalkaranji.
(e). During the course of investigation, on 9 th February 2009 itself, in presence of PW3 Vijay Thombare panch witness, the spot came to be inspected and spot panchnama Exhibit 40 came to be recorded by police. From the spot of the incident, blood stained earth, simple earth, broken pieces of green bangles, one handkerchief stained with blood, so also a ladies purse stained with blood came to be seized.
(f) At IGM Hospital, Ichalkaranji, injured PW1/Surekha Kamble came to be medically treated by Dr.Surekha Rawal and PW7 Dr.Pradip Mane along with other medical officers. On the very same day, husband of PW1/Surekha Kamble had taken her to Niramay hospital, Ichalkaranji, for further treatment where she was treated by PW8 Dr.Gurudas Banne.
(g) According to prosecution case, soon after the incident on 9 th February 2009 itself, the appellant / accused holding blood stained scythe (koita) and nylon bag appeared before PW10 Dattatray Kurane, P.S.I. at Shivaji Nagar Police Station, Ichalkaranji, and disclosed the incident to him. PW10 Dattatray Kurane, P.S.I., then called two panch witnesses and seized blood stained scythe (koita), nylon bag, so also clothes of the appellant / accused. He came to be arrested.
(h) On 9th February 2009 itself, in presence of panch witness PW4 Mahesh Kabboor, police seized blood stained clothes of PW1/Surekha Kamble.
(i) Statement of witnesses came to be recorded and seized articles were sent for chemical analysis. On completion of routine investigation, the appellant / accused came to be chargesheeted.
(j) On committal of the case, charge for offences punishable under Sections 307 and 341 of the IPC was framed and explained to the appellant / accused. He abjured guilt and claimed trial.
(k) In order to bring home the guilt to the appellant / accused, prosecution has examined in all ten witnesses. Injured Surekha is examined as PW1. The FIR lodged by her is at Exhibit 34. Sanjay Wadagave, driver of the auto rickshaw which took injured PW1/Surekha Kamble to IGM Hospital, Ichalkaranji, is examined as PW2. PW3 Vijay Thombare is a panch witness to spot panchnama Exhibit 40. PW4 Mahesh Kabboor is a panch witness to seizure of clothes of PW1/Surekha Kamble. PW5 Krishna Dhumal and PW6 Santosh Dhatunde are eye witnesses to the crime in question. However, PW5 Krishna Dhumal turned hostile to prosecution. PW7 Dr.Pradip Mane, Medical Officer with IGM Hospital, Ichalkaranji, proved injury certificate Exhibit 56 and other documents of medical treatment given to PW1/Surekha Kamble at that hospital. PW8 Dr.Gurudas Banne proved medical case papers of treatment of PW1/Surekha Kamble at Niramay hospital, Ichalkaranji, and deposed about her medical condition and injuries suffered by her. PW9 Bharat Suryawanshi, P.S.I, had recorded FIR Exhibit 34 and deposed about written information given to the police station by IGM hospital. PW10 Dattatray Kurane, P.S.I., conducted further investigation of the crime in question.
(l) Defence of the appellant / accused, as seen from line of crossexamination of prosecution witnesses as well as from his statement under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, is that of total denial. According to the appellant / accused, he is falsely implicated in the crime in question, as injured PW1/Surekha Kamble insisted him to have illicit relations with her, but he refused to oblige her. It is further contended by the defence that the prosecuting party was harbouring the grudge against him and hence he is falsely implicated in the crime in question.
(3.) We have heard Ms.Nasreen Ayubi, the learned advocate appearing for the appellant / accused. She vehemently argued that evidence on record does not establish commission of offence alleged against the appellant / accused. The incident took place at a populous locality of Ichalkaranji, which is said to have been witnessed by many people. In submission of the learned advocate for the appellant / accused, PW5 Krishna Dhumal has not supported the case of prosecution and crossexamination of PW6 Santosh Dhatunde reveals that he was having a stall on the side of the road and because of running traffic he was not in a position to witness the incident in question. The learned advocate further argued that evidence on record and particularly that of PW1/Surekha Kamble indicates that she as well as her family members were harbouring grudge against the appellant / accused, and therefore, he is falsely implicated in the crime in question. Hence, the appellant / accused deserves benefit of doubt. As against this, the learned APP supported the impugned judgment and order by contending that evidence on prosecution is clear, consistent and cogent. The learned APP further argued that this is a second incident of assault on PW1/Surekha Kamble by the appellant / accused. In past, in the year 2004, the appellant / accused assaulted PW1/Surekha Kamble, which ultimately resulted in conviction for the offence punishable under Section 324 of the IPC vide judgment and order dated 11 th June 2009 passed by the learned JMFC, Kurundwad, in R.C.C. No.13 of 2014.;