KANTILAL K L GORDHANDAS SONI Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: GUJARAT)
STATE OF GUJARAT
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Santosh Hegde, J. -
(1.)The Additional Sessions Judge, Sabarkantha District found the appellant guilty in Sessions Case No. 99 of 1994 for offences punishable under Sections 302, 201, 394 and 449 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life and imposed a fine of Rs. 500 in default of which a further sentence of one year rigorous imprisonment for the offence under S. 302. The Sessions Court further imposed a sentence of two years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 300 in default of which the appellant was directed to undergo imprisonment for six months for an offence under S. 201. The Court also awarded a sentence of five years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 300 in default a further sentence of one year rigorous imprisonment for offence under S.394. For the offence under S. 449, I. P. C. the appellant was awarded a sentence of three years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 300 in default a further sentence of six months rigorous imprisonment was awarded.
(2.)The appellants appeal before the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad in Criminal Appeal No. 125 of 1997 came to be dismissed by the Division Bench of the said High Court. Hence the appellant is before us in this appeal.
(3.)Briefly stated the prosecution case is on 9th of April, 1994 when the milkman who used to supply milk to the deceased Kantaben, went to her house for supplying milk in the morning, he did not get any response when he called for her. Hence, when he peeped inside the kitchen door which was open, he found the deceased lying injured. He immediately informed the relatives and in turn the police were informed who came to the place of incident and removed the body for post-mortem which was conducted on 9th of April, 1994, during which procedure PW-1, Dr. Jhinabhai found among other injuries a reddish injury in the front of the throat where a swelling was also noticed. On the examination of the internal injuries corresponding to the injury noticed on the throat, the Doctor found the larynx congested and there was reddish foam inside bronchia. He opined the cause of death of Kanta Ben was due to strangulation. On 10th April, 1994 by which time the son of the deceased had come to Modasa, the son gave a further report to the police that on search of the house of his mother certain gold jewelleries worn by her were found missing and he suspected that the cause of death of his mother was not due to accident as was originally thought of before the post-mortem but was murder. PW-28, who conducted the investigation having suspected the appellant on the basis of two cheques of his found in the house of the deceased, on investigation found that the appellant had financial transactions with the deceased, therefore he could have been responsible for her death. When he searched for the appellant he could not find him at his usual place of residence or at work, and was able to arrest him only on 11th of May, 1994 about 33 days after the incident on 8th of April, 1994. During the course of his interrogation, based on a statement made by the appellant the investigating agency went to the place of PW 10, a Goldsmith and found out that he, at the instance of the appellant, melted certain gold ornaments into ingots of 60 grams and 35 grams on 9th of April, 1994. On further investigation, it was found that the said ingots were purchased by PW 11, a Jeweller, for Rs. 35,000 from the appellant. The investigation also revealed that the appellant had taken a loan of Rs. 20,000/- on pledging Kisan Vikas Patras belonging to himself and his wife from Nagrik Bank which amount according to the prosecution was repaid and the Kisan Vikas Patras were redeemed by the appellant at about the same time as he received the money from PW 11. During the course of investigation, it was also revealed that one Natwarlal Shankerlal, PW 21 had seen the appellant in the house of the deceased at about 8 or 8.30 p.m. on 8th April, 1994. The investigating officer, while arresting the appellant on 11th of May, 1994 also noticed that he had certain injuries on him which, on medical examination were found as injuries which could have been caused by the deceased with her nails. It is based on these materials, the prosecution charged the appellant for having caused the death of Kantaben, as stated above.
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