(1.) On 2nd July, 2007, Shripal (PW10) informed the police that his daughter, the 8 years' old victim, was untraceable since 29th June, 2007 and that, on 2nd July, 2007, her dead body has been found. By that, a request was made to the police to do the necessary. An inquest was made on 2nd July, 2007 of the dead body, when it was found that the paijama of the victim is lying close by and, otherwise, the dead body is naked. The dead body was sent for post mortem. The same was conducted by Dr. Ajay Agarwal (PW5). In the post mortem report, it was stated that the death has taken place 4 to 6 days before the post mortem was conducted. It was stated that the cause of death is not ascertainable, as the dead body was in a rotten stage and all vital parts thereof had been removed by wild animals. It was stated that maggots were present all over the body, vagina could not be seen and ovary had been removed. On 14th July, 2007, a complaint was lodged with the police by PW10. The said complaint was treated as the First Information Report. In the complaint, it was stated that the victim had gone to attend the birthday celebration of her cousin. After having had attended the said birthday celebration, she was returning home along with her aunt and uncle Karan Singh (PW1). It was stated that, after having had reached the village, victim held out to PW1 and her aunt that she will go to her home. Accordingly, she left towards her home through a different route and PW1 and his wife took another route to reach their home. It was stated that, on the bank of the river, people were collecting pebbles and some of them saw that the victim, along with the appellant and one Vinod, was walking towards the jungle. It was also stated that, subsequent thereto, Charan Singh (PW2) saw the appellant and Vinod coming out from the jungle, they thereupon washed their clothes and, thereafter, left the place. It was stated that PW2 saw bloodstains on the clothes of the appellant and Vinod. In course of investigation, pursuant to the said First Information Report, appellant was arrested on 16th July, 2007, whereupon, on his disclosure, a plastic bag containing a salwar, a paijama and a pair of plastic slippers, sky-coloured, were recovered and, simultaneously, from the house of the appellant, one cream-coloured bloodstained pant was recovered. Vinod could not be arrested. Accordingly, a charge-sheet was filed only against the appellant, whereby and under, it was alleged that the appellant is guilty of commission of offences punishable under Sections 302, 376 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code.
(2.) Charge was, accordingly, framed and, after considering the evidence on record, brought in by the prosecution, the court below, by the judgment under appeal, has convicted the appellant for offences punishable under each of the said Sections and has also appropriately sentenced him.
(3.) In the appeal, the contention of the appellant is that there was no acceptable evidence before the court below, which could link the appellant with the crime in question. Although, in the First Information Report, it was stated that pebble collectors had seen the victim in the company of the appellant on 29th June, 2007, no pebble collector was produced as witness to establish the same. Instead, one Umrao Singh (PW7) deposed that, while riding on a bike, he and his companion Ajab Singh (PW4) saw the appellant in the company of the victim on 29th June, 2007. The fact remains that, in terms of the information, which was sent by PW10 on 2nd July, 2007, as well as in terms of the First Information Report lodged on 14th July, 2007; it came to the knowledge of PW10 on 30th June, 2007 that the victim is missing. PW7 is not only a resident of the selfsame village, but is also a relative of PW10. According to the evidence of PW7, he disclosed that he saw the appellant in the company of the victim on 29th June, 2007 to the Investigating Officer only on 22nd July, 2007. According to the said information dated 22nd July, 2007 as well as according to the First Information Report as well as according to the evidence of PW10; no sooner, on 30th June, 2007, it came to the knowledge of PW10 that the victim is missing since 29th June, 2007, all out effort was made to trace out the victim. In that background, the evidence of PW7 is to be considered. The question is, whether a prudent person can, in the background of the conduct of PW7 vis- -vis the admitted facts, can accept the evidence of PW7 The answer would be an emphatic 'No'.;