Brijesh Kumar, J. -
(1.)All the three criminal appeals, noted above, arise out of the judgment and order dated 21-9-2000, passed by the Gujarat High Court upholding the conviction and sentence of all the appellants in the three appeals as awarded by the Additional Sessions Judge, Kheda at Nadiad by the order dated 8-6-1998 in Sessions Case No. 195/1993. The appellants have been convicted under Section 302 read with Section 120-B IPC and sentenced to imprisonment for life. They have also been sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 5000/- each, in default to suffer simple imprisonment for a period of three years, except accused no. 5 Ramilaben and accused no.11 Elisaben, who have been sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 2000/- each, in default thereof to suffer simple imprisonment for a period of two years. Four persons, namely, Pushpaben Dahyabhai, Ravinaben Dahyabhai, Gersombhai Yakubhai and Mariyamben Ashabhai, had been acquitted as no case was found to have been made out for their conviction.
(2.)In all, there were eleven accused persons, out of which accused no. 6 Rameshbhai Ashabhai died during the trial, six of them have been convicted and four have been acquitted as indicated earlier. For the sake of convenience, it may be better to note the "accused number" of all eleven persons, since they have been so referred at many places in the judgments of the Sessions Court and the High Court.
Name of the Persons Convicted:
Accused No.1 Dahyabhai Ashokbhai.
Accused No.4 Hasmukhbhai Ashabhai.
Accused No.5 Ramilaben Hasmukhbhai
Accused No.8 Sulemanbhai Yakumbhai.
Accused No.10 Daudbhai Shivabhai.
Accused No.11 Elisaben Yusufbhai.
Accused No.6 Rameshbhai Ashabhai (died during trial)
Name of the Persons Acquitted:
Accused No.2 Pushpaben Dahyabhai.
Accused No.3 Ravinaben Dahyabhai.
Accused No.7 Gersombhai Yakubhai.
Accused No.9 Mariyamben Ashabhai.
(3.)The prosecution story is that on 15-2-1992 at about 9.30 a.m. the deceased Pragnesh Kumar aged about 24 years, was going towards market in town of Matar, District Kheda. While he was passing through the road, Accused No.2 - Pushpaben Ashabhai Khristi along with other ten accused persons surrounded him and she is said to have sprinkled kerosene oil on Pragnesh Kumar and one of the remaining ten persons lighted a match stick, as a result of which Pragnesh Kumar caught fire. He received severe burn injuries to the extent of 90% all over the body. The same day Pragnesh Kumar died of the said injuries in Vedilal Sarabhai Hospital, Ahmedabad sometimes around 4.00 p.m.