RAVIKANT BHAGOJI DHUMAL Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: BOMBAY)
Ravikant Bhagoji Dhumal
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
Referred Judgements :-
PRADYUM NARAIN PANDEY V. STATE
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(1.)A young woman of 29, Km Chandrakala Acchyut Lotalikar, travelling from Goa to Bombay by a bus was found to have been murdered following a sex assault. After the completion of the police investigation, the present appellants along with six others were pot on trial for offences against various S. of the Indian Penal Code. Eight of the accused persons were acquitted by the trial court and appellant 1 was convicted for offences punishable under S. 366 and S. 376 read with S. 34 Indian Penal Code and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 7 years and 10 years respectively. He was acquitted of the murder charge. Two appeals were filed - one by the State government against the orders of acquittal and another by the convicted accused 1, who is appellant 1 in Criminal Appeal No. 371 of 1978 and the sole appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 372 of 1978 before this court. The two appeals were heard together and disposed by the impugned judgment. The High court has maintained the conviction and sentence of accused 1 (hereinafter referred to as appellant 1 and further convicted him under S. 302 read with S. 34 Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to imprisonment for life, and convicted accused 8 and 9, appellants 2 and 3 in Criminal Appeal No. 371 of 1978 before this court, under S. 366 read with S. 34, and S. 376 read with S. 34 Indian Penal Code and sentenced each of them to rigorous imprisonment for 7 years and 10 years respectively under the two counts. They have further been convicted under S. 302 read with S. 34 Indian Penal Code and sentenced to imprisonment for life. In other words, all the three accused have been awarded similar convictions and sentences. All the sentences have been directed to run concurrently. It is this judgment of the High court which has been impugned before this court. Criminal Appeal No. 371 of 1978 has been filed by the three accused persons, while Criminal Appeal No. 372 of 1978 has been preferred by accused 1.
(2.)The deceased Chandrakala was on a visit to Goa where her married sister was staying. On 8/10/1975 at about 11.30 a. m. she took the tourist bus bearing No. GDT 2335 known by the name 'mahalasa Narayani' for Bombay where her brother Sadashiv Acchyutlotalikar (Public Witness 9 lived. She was an unmarried girl and was undertaking the overnight journey alone. Her sister's husband Putu Dattaram Raikar (Public Witness 6 saw her off at the bus station. On the way to Bombay the tourist buses halt for some time at convenient places to enable the passengers and the members of the crew to have their lunch, dinner etc. and get some respite. Accordingly the bus Mahalasa Narayani stopped for some time at Sawantvadi for lunch and later at Bharana Naka at about 9.15 p. m. After re-fuelling at a petrol pump, where some passengers got down, the bus finally stopped near a restaurant by the name of 'visava Hotel' belonging to accused 5, so that the passengers could have their meals. According to the prosecution story, Chandrakala along with the other passengers got down from the vehicle and went into Visava Hotel. Soon thereafter she was seen coming out of the hotel and proceeding towards certain structure near a tree for attending call of nature. It is further alleged that while she was in the posture of urinating near the aforesaid structure accused 1 came from behind and lifted her. She protested and started crying, but was carried away forcibly. It is also said that accused 8 and 9 also joined. This part of the story has been supported by three eye-witnesses of tender age, namely, Suman Nana Ambare, a girl of about 15 years (Public Witness 14, Shrirang Vishnu Mohite (Public Witness 17 and Jagannath Laxman Sigwan (Public Witness 18 two lads aged about 12 years. At the time of departure of the bus Mahalasa Narayani the conductor of the bus Suresh Mahadev Dhuri (Public Witness 12 discovered that Chandrakala was missing. After a futile attempt to find her the bus proceeded on its journey to Bombay. Public Witness 12 claims to have approached one of the sons of the hotel owner accused 5 with a request that if Chandrakala was found out she might be sent by another bus to Bombay. Her absence was also noticed by the other passengers in the bus.
(3.)The dead body of Chandrakala was discovered the next afternoon and the Police Patil Purushottam (Public Witness 11 who was at Khed about two miles from Bharana Naka, received a telephonic message from accused 5 that the dead body of a woman was lying in the paddy fields nearby. Purushottam immediately left for Bharana Naka by his bicycle. The Khed Police Station was kept informed on telephone and investigation followed. The first information report was registered on the statement of the Police Patil (Public Witness II) staling that the dead body of a woman was found in a paddy field belonging to accused 5.
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