K VENKATESHWARA RAO VENKATAL I RAO Vs. STATE REP
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
K.VENKATESHWARA RAO @ VENKATAL @ I.RAO
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Santosh Hegde, J. -
(1.)The appellant above named along with 7 other persons was charged for offence under Sections 396, 302 and 412 IPC by the Additional Sessions Judge, Vizianagaram in Sessions Case No. 79/1996. The learned Sessions Judge found the appellant and other co-accused, except A-2 who died before the commencement of trial, guilty of the said offences and convicted and sentenced all of them to suffer life imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 10,000/- each under Section 396 IPC; in default, RI for 5 years. The appellant and A-4 to A-9 were also convicted for offence under Section 412 IPC and were sentenced to suffer RI for 10 years and to pay fine of Rs. 5,000/- each; in default to suffer RI for 3 years. On appeal, the High Court found all the accused including this appellant not guilty of the charge under Sections 302 and 396 and acquitted them while so far as this appellant and some of the accused named above are concerned, the High Court held them guilty of the offence under Section 412 IPC and confirmed the conviction and sentence recorded by the learned Additional Sessions Judge for the said offence. It is against this judgment of the High Court that the appellant is in appeal.
(2.)Mr. Y. Raja Gopala Rao, learned counsel for the appellant, firstly contended that since the prosecution case of dacoity under Section 396 was disbelieved by the High Court, and the appellant was acquitted of the charge, the High Court could not have convicted the appellant under Section 412 IPC without there being any additional material to establish this charge apart from the one not accepted by the High Court in the appeal. He contended that the prosecution has not produced any other material except what was produced in support of the charge under Section 396 for convicting the appellant independently of the offence under Section 412 IPC. He nextly contended that there was a serious error committed by the trial court while framing the charge under Section 412 against this appellant inasmuch as the material particulars necessary to be stated in a charge against the accused relating to the case against him in respect of the offence under Section 412 IPC were not mentioned. Thirdly, he contended that the alleged seizure of the documents, namely, Ex. P-36 to P-40 from the appellant was not in accordance with law, hence was not proved.
(3.)Mr. A. Raghuvir, learned senior counsel appearing for the State, defended the judgment of the High Court. He submitted that even in cases where the prosecution case as to dacoity has not been accepted by the court, the court can still rely upon the fats so produced by the prosecution for drawing an inference that the person accused of being in possession of the property had the knowledge that the property was involved in the dacoity to establish an offence under Section 412 IPC. For this purpose he relied upon a statement alleged to have been made by the appellant to the Circle Inspector of Police at the time of seizure of Ex. P-36 to P-40, wherein, according to the learned counsel, the appellant had accepted that the documents seized from him were received by him at the time of the dacoity. In such a situation, he contended that a legitimate inference can be drawn that Ex. P-36 to P-40 were the property involved in the dacoity which was received by the appellant. In regard to the complaint of irregularity in framing of the charge the said learned counsel submitted that if the charge in question were to be read as whole, it would clearly show that the allegation against the appellant was with regard to the property which was in the lorry at the time of dacoity, therefore, the appellant could not complain of lack of material particulars in the charge alleged against him. In regard to the third complaint of the appellant that the seizure in question was contrary to law, the learned counsel for the State contended that the seizure was in fact made on the basis of a statement made by the accused which led to the recovery of Ex. P-36 to P-40 so there was nothing illegal about the same and the court was justified in relying upon the same.
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