Arvind Singh vs The State Of Maharashtra on 24 April, 2020


Supreme Court of India

Arvind Singh vs The State Of Maharashtra on 24 April, 2020

Author: Hemant Gupta

Bench: Vineet Saran, Hemant Gupta, M.R. Shah

                                                                                     REPORTABLE

                                                 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                                 CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                                             CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 640-641 OF 2016


                         ARVIND SINGH                                              .....APPELLANT(S)

                                                                VERSUS
                         THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
                                                                                .....RESPONDENT(S)

                                                             WITH

                                           CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 1515-1516 OF 2017



                                                        JUDGMENT

HEMANT GUPTA, J.

1. The present appeals are directed against the judgment and order

passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay (Nagpur Bench)

on 5th May, 2016 whereby the appeals filed by the appellants

Rajesh Daware1 and Arvind Singh2 against their conviction for

offences punishable under Section 364A read with Section 34 of

the Indian Penal Code, 18603 and Section 302 read with Section 34

IPC was dismissed by confirming the death sentence imposed upon

them by the learned Sessions Judge, Nagpur vide its order dated

4th February, 2016.

Signature Not Verified

2. The prosecution process was set in motion on the basis of an oral
Digitally signed by
DEEPAK SINGH
Date: 2020.04.24
16:59:06 IST
Reason:

                         1    for short, ‘A-1’
                         2    for short, ‘A-2’
                         3    for short, ‘IPC’

                                                                                                  1

statement made by Dr. Mukesh Ramanlal Chandak (PW-1) to the

Police Sub-Inspector, Police Station Lakadganj, Nagpur City on

1st September, 2014 about his son Yug, aged 8 years being

missing. Dr. Chandak stated that, on 1st September, 2014, when

he was present with his wife at the hospital, she told him that their

driver Raju Tote had informed her on the phone that their son went

along with somebody. Dr. Chandak (PW-1) came home and

inquired from Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31), the watchman of

their housing society, “Guru Vandana Apartment 4”, who informed

him that at about 3:45 pm, when he was sitting near the gate of

the Apartment, an unknown, fair complexioned boy, aged about

20-25 years, wearing a red half sleeves T-shirt, full white pants with

a white handkerchief wrapped around his face, came to him, riding

a black scooty. This boy parked his vehicle near the footpath in

front of the gate and asked Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31)

whether Yug has come home. Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31)

replied in the negative and asked him to go inside and find out for

himself but the boy remained at the gate itself. He had worn the

clothes (uniform) like that of the clothes of the employees of Dr.

Chandak’s clinic. After about 15 minutes, Yug, came in his school

dress. He kept his school bag on chair meant for him and told Arun

Parmanand Meshram (PW-31) to leave the school bag at his

Apartment, who told him that he will require half an hour to do the

same. Thereafter, he saw Yug going towards Chhapru Nagar

Chowk along with the boy on his scooty. Arun Parmanand
4 for short, ‘Apartment’

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Meshram (PW-31) was under the impression that the said boy

might be an employee of Dr. Chandak’s clinic because his clothes

were like the uniform that his employees wear.

3. On the basis of such statement received in the Police Station at

17:10 hours, FIR No. 287 of 2014 was registered for an offence

under Section 363 IPC but after the information of kidnapping and

death was received, offences under Section 364A and Section 302

read with Section 34 IPC were added. The initial investigation was

taken over by N.T. Gosawi (PW-25) and later taken over by S.K.

Jaiswal (PW-50). On completion of the investigation, including the

recovery of dead body, the prosecution presented a charge sheet

for the trial of the accused. The prosecution examined 50

witnesses in support of the charges levelled against A-1 and A-2.

4. The learned trial court in its judgment dated 30 th January, 2016

examined the prosecution evidence under the following heads:

“A) Ocular evidence of prosecution witnesses relating to
kidnapping/abduction of victim-Yug by the accused,

B) The theory of doctrine of last seen together of victim-

Yug in the company of accused,

C) The evidence of T.I. parade,

D) The evidence of CCTV footage,

E) The evidence of demand of ransom from the accused,

F) The evidence of recovery of dead body as well as
incriminating articles etc. u/s. 27 of the Evidence Act,

G) The circumstances of motive, preparation and
previous conduct of the accused u/s. 8 of the Evidence

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Act,

H) The evidence of criminal conspiracy,

I) The evidence of CDR & SDR of the relevant telephonic
conversation,

J) Presumption of factum of murder of victim-Yug on the
part of accused,

K) The C.A. report/DNA report inculpatory in nature.”

5. The learned trial court convicted A-1 and A-2 for the offences

punishable under Sections 120-B, 364A, 302, 201 read with Section

34 IPC. By a subsequent order, A-1 and A-2 were sentenced to

death for the offences punishable under Section 364A read with

Section 34 IPC and Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC on both

offences. The learned trial court also convicted A-1 and A-2 for

offences punishable under Section 120-B of IPC, to suffer

imprisonment for life and to pay fine of Rs.10,000/- and for an

offence punishable under Section 201 read with Section 34 IPC,

A-1 and A-2 were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 7 years

and to pay fine of Rs.5,000/-. It is the said order of the learned

Sessions Judge which was affirmed by the High Court.

6. The prosecution had led evidence of the boy, Yug, last seen in the

company of the accused from 16:15 hrs. approximately to 17:30

hrs. approximately on 1st September 2014. The post mortem was

conducted on 3rd September 2014 between 12.00 hrs. to 13:45 hrs.

by a team of three Doctors. Dr. Avinash Waghmode (PW-27) had

been examined to prove the postmortem report (Ex.103). The

4
cause of death was found to be smothering and the time since

death was 36 to 48 hours. There were as many as 26 injuries found

on the dead body which included Injury Nos. 22 to 26 as post

mortem injuries. Dr. Avinash Waghmode (PW-27) deposed that

Injury Nos. 1 -21 and 26 may have been perimortem injuries i.e.

the injuries were caused during the activation and working of vital

functions. With this background, the evidence of the prosecution is

examined in the present appeals in the following manner:

     (A)      The evidence of last seen
     (B)      Discovery of incriminating facts
     (C)      Demand of Ransom
     (D)      Motive and Conspiracy
     (E)      Corroborative Evidence

7. The undisputed location of different places which are referred to by

the witnesses is broadly Guru Vandana Apartment (place of

kidnapping) leading to Outer Ring Road on the inter section of

Kalmana Market; then to Vinoba Bhave Nagar; then to Koradi

Saoner Chindwara Road leading to Loankhairi, Loankhairi Nullah;

Patansawangi Village and then to Itangoti Village leading to a lake

and a pump house. The Lakadganj Police Station is close to the

Itawari Railway Station on a road from the Itabutti Chowk on the

outer ring road.

(A) The evidence of last seen

(i) The kidnapping of the boy Yug from the Apartment.

8. The prosecution, as stated earlier, examined Arun Parmanand

Meshram (PW-31), the watchman of the Apartment, who deposed

that Dr. Chandak and his family of four were residents on the

2nd floor of the said Apartment. He stated that Dr. Chandak and his

5
wife are dentists and have their own clinic in Nagpur city. The

employees of Dr. Chandak used to wear red T-shirts as part of the

uniform of the clinic. Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31) deposed

that he was aware of such uniform as Dr. Chandak’s employees

used to visit his residence frequently. He stated that he was on

duty on 1st September, 2014 and at about 16:00 hrs. on that day,

a boy, aged approximately 21-22 years came on a purple scooty,

wearing a red T-shirt with a scarf wrapped on his face. This person

removed his scarf, showing his face and inquired from him as to

whether Yug had returned home. Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-

31) told him to visit Dr. Chandak’s house and verify the same,

however, he did not go upstairs and remained standing on the

footpath, where he had parked his vehicle. After sometime, Yug

returned from school, wearing his sky-blue T-shirt and blue shorts

which was his school uniform. The boy standing on the footpath

gave out a call to him. Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31)

deposed that there was some conversation between the two.

Thereafter, Yug came back to Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31),

kept his school bag on his chair and told him to leave the same at

his Apartment. Yug also told him that he was going to his father’s

clinic. Yug then sat on the boy’s purple scooty and the two drove

away. At about 16:15 hrs., Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31)

went to Dr. Chandak’s Apartment to leave Yug’s school bag when a

maid-servant in the Apartment inquired about Yug’s whereabouts.

He informed her that Yug had gone to his father’s clinic. After

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sometime, Dr. Chandak’s driver came to the building and inquired

about Yug as well. Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31) told him

that Yug had gone to his father’s clinic with one of its employees.

Dr. Chandak was thereafter contacted and he returned from his

clinic. Mrs. Chandak also rushed to the Apartment. Later, the

Police arrived at about 18:00 hrs. and started inquiry.

9. Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31) received notice regarding the

conduct of Test Identification Parade5 in the Central Jail premises

for 25th September, 2014. He identified the boy standing at Sl. No.

4 as the same youngster who came to the Apartment on a purple

scooty and took away Yug, in the TIP so conducted. This boy

disclosed his name as Arvind Singh (A-2) to the Officer who was

present there. In cross-examination, Arun Parmanand Meshram

(PW-31) deposed that Dr. Chandak returned from his clinic on the

day of incident at about 16:45 hrs. He denied that he was tutored

to give evidence in the case. He also denied that the Officer

present in the room at the TIP disclosed to him that A-2 was the

same person in this crime who was identified. He further denied

having seen the photographs of A-1 and A-2 in the Newspaper as

well as that Dr. Chandak showed him the photographs prior to TIP

conducted.

10. Rajan Tiwari (PW-2) is a shopkeeper who has a firewood shop in

front of the Apartment. He deposed that at about 16:00 hrs. on

1st September, 2014, he was sitting in front of his shop and saw

two unknown boys coming from the side of Chhapru Nagar on a
5 for short, ‘TIP’

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purple scooty. They stopped in front of his shop. The boy driving

the scooty alighted in front of his shop and the boy who was the

pillion rider started proceeding further with the vehicle. The boy

who alighted in front of his shop used abusive language and told

the pillion rider to go straight by riding on the wrong side of the

road. The rider did the same and went towards the side of the

Apartment. Rajan Tiwari (PW-2) deposed that there is a showroom

of Mahindra Vehicles adjoining his shop and whilst he was having

tea at a stall near such Showroom, he saw that the earlier boy

riding the scooty, wearing a red T-shirt, had returned and brought a

boy, aged about 8 years with him. This minor boy was wearing a

sky blue colour school uniform. The boy who was standing in front

of his shop went running towards the scooty and sat on the seat

behind the minor boy. The boy who sat as pillion rider on the

scooty was wearing an almond coloured shirt. Rajan Tiwari (PW-2)

deposed that he can identify both the boys on the scooty.

Thereafter, when he was called for the TIP at Central Jail, Nagpur

on 30th October, 2014, in the presence of the Magistrate, he

identified both A-1 and A-2 therein. In the cross-examination, Rajan

Tiwari (PW-2) deposed that on the day of incident, both A-1 and A-2

covered their face with scarfs. He also denied knowledge of news

published in the daily Newspaper.

11. Biharilal Sadhuram Chhabariya (PW-17) is another witness of the

kidnapping of the boy from the Apartment. He deposed that he

has a grocery shop in Maskasath Square, Nagpur and is also a

8
resident of the Apartment. On the day of incident, he came back

home to the Apartment for lunch on his Scooter at 16:00 hrs. He

deposed that he saw a boy stationed behind a car owned by him,

in front of the building of the Apartment. He had suspicion that

this boy, wearing red T-shirt and sitting on a purple scooty, would

cause mischief to his vehicle. Biharilal Sadhuram Chhabariya (PW-

17) deposed that the boy took out a white handkerchief and tied it

on his face. After 10-15 minutes, when Biharilal Sadhuram

Chhabariya (PW-17) came back down, after having lunch, the boy

and his vehicle were not present. It is at about 17:15 hrs., he

received a telephone call from his wife that Dr. Chandak’s son was

kidnapped by a person wearing a red T-shirt and riding a purple

scooty. Biharilal Sadhuram Chhabariya (PW-17) rushed home at

around 17:30 hrs. and at about 19:00 hrs., Dr. Chandak met him in

the campus of the building. Biharilal Sadhuram Chhabariya (PW-17)

informed Dr. Chandak that he had seen a boy of the mentioned

description standing by the road outside the Apartment.

12. Biharilal Sadhuram Chhabariya (PW-17) was called for TIP on

25th September, 2014 in Central Jail, Nagpur. He identified the boy

standing at Sl. No. 4 as A-2. In cross-examination, he deposed that

on the day of incident, he returned home at around 15:45-16:00

hrs. and went back to his shop again after lunch at about 16:15

hrs. on his Scooter. He denied that he had not seen the boy

wearing a handkerchief on his face.

13. From the evidence of Arun Parmanand Meshram (PW-31) and

9
Biharilal Sadhuram Chhabariya (PW-17), identity of A-2 is

established whereas Rajan Tiwari (PW-2) has identified both A-1

and A-2. It is on the basis of this evidence, the prosecution

established the identity of the accused at the time of the

kidnapping of the boy, Yug.

(ii) The evidence of A-2 visiting the house of A-1.

14. The prosecution has further led evidence that A-2 went to the

house of A-1. Rupali (PW-23), the neighbour of A-1, appeared as a

witness to identify both accused. She deposed that she is a

resident of the Pandurang Nagar area and is acquainted with A-1

being her neighbour. Smt. Bhumeshwari is the mother of A-1 and

Ankush his younger brother. Ankush was also apprehended in the

crime but was dealt with by the Juvenile Justice Board being a

Juvenile. Rupali (PW-23) deposed that at about 16:30 hrs. on 1 st

September, 2014, she was washing clothes in the courtyard of her

house. A-1, accompanied by a friend, arrived on his scooty. There

was a minor boy, aged about 5-6 years, sitting on the scooty

between them. A-1 gave dash to the wooden entrance gate of

the boundary wall of his house. Rupali (PW-23) told A-1 that if he

drives the vehicle in such manner, it would hurt the boy sitting in

between them. However, she deposed that she had not seen the

clothes of the boy sitting on the scooty due to plants and trees of

the courtyard shrouding the same. When she asked about the

minor boy, A-1 informed her that he is the younger brother of his

friend. A-1 parked his scooty in the courtyard. Thereafter, A-1 took

his motorbike and trio went away. Rupali (PW-23) identified A-2 as

10
the person who was with A-1 on that day. She also deposed that at

about 19:30 hrs., A-1’s father took her cellphone No. 8408025528

for his use as there was no balance in his own cellphone. In the

cross-examination by A-2, she deposed that she had delivered a

child on 7th October, 2014 and was in the hospital even on 1 st

September, 2014 for a related ailment. Thereafter she was resting,

but later got up to wash her clothes. She denied that there was any

dispute between her and the family of the accused on account of

boundary wall. Thus, the next link of the prosecution evidence is

that both the accused were seen together on a scooty with the

kidnapped boy and that the three went away on a Hero Motor bike.

(iii) The evidence of taking fuel for the Motorcycle by A-1 and A-2
with the kidnapped boy at petrol station

15. The next link of prosecution evidence is of the accused being in the

company of Yug at Sunder Auto Center, Bhokara, on Koradi Road.

The prosecution examined Hitesh Tulsiram Rathod (PW-30),

Shrikant Walmik Sharma (PW-35), Pratik Rathi (PW-48), Ajay Aba

Salunke (PW-38), Chitra Sanjay Kamat (PW-47) and Madhuri

Permanand Dhawalkar (PW-34) in respect of the CCTV camera

footage of Sunder Auto Centre, Bhokara, Nagpur.

16. Ms. Madhuri Permanand Dhawalkar (PW-34) is the witness who had

filled petrol in the motorcycle of A-1 and A-2. She deposed that on

1st September, 2014 at about 16:00 hrs. – 16:30 hrs., she saw that

two boys came to the petrol pump to take petrol for their Hero

Honda bike. A minor boy was seen sitting in between both the

riders. She deposed that the boy who was driving the bike wore an

11
almond shirt and that the pillion rider was wearing a red one. The

minor boy sitting in between them wore a sky blue colour T-shirt.

The boy who was driving the bike paid the money for fuel and

thereafter they went away. She deposed that both A-1 and A-2

present are the same motorbike riders who arrived at petrol pump

on 1st September, 2014 to take fuel for their Hero Honda bike. She

also deposed that she can identify the minor boy sitting in between

them, if shown to her. She identified Yug from the photograph

(Ex.26). Ms. Madhuri Permanand Dhawalkar (PW-34) further stated

that there were eight CCTV Cameras installed at the premises of

the petrol pump. Such CCTV footage was taken by the Police on

4th September, 2014. The Police had shown her the recording of

CCTV No. 3 of the petrol pump through which she identified A-1

and A-2. In the cross-examination by A-1, she volunteered that the

cameras were kept on for 24 hours and the services of the petrol

pump were also rendered round the clock, 24×7. In cross-

examination by A-2, she deposed that after seeing the CCTV

footage, it is difficult for her to draw an inference as to whether the

minor boy was sleeping in between both the riders, or whether he

was dead, or whether he was in a withered condition at the

relevant time.

17. The CCTV footages were played in this court during the course of

hearing as well. It shows that the boy is sitting in between the two

riders on the motor bike, but he is inert as one of the riders was

always supporting the child.

12

18. There are other witnesses who have deposed regarding the

recovery of CCTV footage, and the fact that it was not tampered

with. Hitesh Tulsiram Rathod (PW-30) is an employee of Kores India

Ltd. who installed the CCTV camera at the petrol pump. Shrikant

Walmik Sharma (PW-35) is the Manager of the petrol pump who

deposed regarding the seizure of the CCTV footage by the Police.

Pratik Ram Rathi (PW-48) is a panch witness of such seizure of the

CCTV footage whereas Chitra Sanjay Kamat (PW-47), an Assistant

Director, Govt. Forensic Laboratory and Ajay Aba Salunke (PW-38)

are the witnesses of the Chemical Analyser’s Report (Ex.160) dated

21st November, 2014.

(iv) The evidence of last seen near Itangoti lake.

19. From the petrol pump, A-1 and A-2 moved to Itangoti Lake. Divya

Chandel (PW-9), a student of Adarsh Vidyalaya of Village

Patansaongi deposed that her friend Tanushri Keche was residing in

the neighbourhood of her house. The timing of her school was

12 noon to 17:15 hrs. The school was at a distance of 5-6 km from

her house and she and her friend used to attend the school on

bicycle. They left school at about 17:15 hrs. on their bicycle for

returning home. In doing so, they saw a motorbike parked on the

road nearby the Pump House of Itangoti Lake. Divya Chandel

(PW-9) deposed that the motorbike was in a stationary condition

and three persons were sitting on it. She further deposed that the

motorbike riders started the vehicle after seeing her and her friend

and proceeded ahead towards them. The boy who was driving the

bike wore an almond colour shirt and the pillion rider wore a red

13
one. The boy in between both riders appeared to be in a sleeping

condition. The motorbike riders proceeded towards the

Patansaongi area. She deposed that all these events occurred at

about 17:30 hrs. On 25th September, 2014, she was called for the

TIP. She identified A-1 and A-2 as the persons who were the

motorbike riders and Yug from the photograph produced by the

Police. In cross-examination by A-1, she deposed the road on which

the motorbike riders were passing on the day of the incident

leading from Dhapewada to Patansaongi village. In cross-

examination by A-2, she deposed that she had seen the motorbike

riders from a distance of 15 feet approximately. She deposed that

initially she had not seen the back side of the motorbike riders, but

had seen the same thereafter.

20. Namdeo Dhawale (PW-11) is a resident of the Village Itangoti. He

deposed that on 1st September, 2014 at about dusk, he was

returning home whilst herding his goats, and saw a motorbike

coming from the opposite side of the road, with two persons and a

minor boy riding upon it. The motorbike riders were about 20-22

years old whereas the minor boy sitting in between them was aged

about 8-10 years. Namdeo Dhawale (PW-11) deposed that the

minor boy was in sleeping condition as his head was tilted on the

shoulder. He attempted to proceed towards the motorbike riders

but on seeing him, the riders took a U turn and went back. It is

after 2-3 days, that the Police arrived in his village. The Police had

shown the photograph of the boy and Namdeo Dhawale (PW-11)

14
then disclosed all the facts to the Police. In cross-examination by

A-2, he deposed that there was no scarf tied on the face of

motorbike riders. The statement of this witness is relevant only for

the purpose of corroborating the statement of Divya Chandel

(PW-9) that he had seen two persons on a motorcycle with a minor

boy.

(v) Near patansaongi lake

21. The last witness who had seen A-1 and A-2 with the kidnapped boy

is Shriram Shankarrao Khadatkar (PW-10). He deposed that he has

agricultural land, within the vicinity of Tandulwani village. On

1st September, 2014, he came to work on his field at about 11:00-

11:30 hrs. on the motorbike of his son. He remained in the field up

till 17:15 hrs. to 17:30 hrs. and thereafter waited at the road for

the motorbike his son to go back home. Whilst doing so, he saw a

black motorbike coming from Patansaongi village upon which two

boys aged about 20-22 years were sitting along with a young boy

between them. Shriram Shankarrao Khadatkar (PW-10) deposed

that the motorbike riders went ahead up to 100-150 ft. on the road,

and then stopped their vehicle after crossing the bridge. The boy

who was driving the motorbike stepped down from the vehicle.

The pillion rider caught-hold of the boy sitting in between them.

They both parked the vehicle and the driver lifted the boy on his

shoulder, proceeding towards the culvert. In the meantime, Pw-

10’s son arrived on his motorbike and he went away towards his

village. He deposed that he was called for the TIP on 25 th

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September, 2014 and identified both A-1 and A-2 as the persons

who were on the motorbike. He identified the clothes (Arts. No. 1,

2 and 19) which were on the person of A-1 and A-2 and the minor

boy. He further deposed that Ex.26 is the photograph of the same

boy who was on motorbike by A-1 and A-2 on the day of incident.

(B) Discovery of incriminating facts

(i) Recovery of Dead Body

22. As per the prosecution, A-1 was arrested around 14:30 hrs.

whereas A-2 was arrested around 16:30 hrs. on 2 nd September,

2014. Mahesh Chandulal Fulwani (PW-28) is the witness of

disclosure statement (Ex.106) of A-1 along with Girish Malpani.

Mahesh Chandulal Fulwani (PW-28) deposed that while passing

from Lakadganj Police Station, he saw a crowd there which

included some of his friends and, therefore, he stopped. The Police

called him into the Police Station where the IO sought his consent

to be a Panch. The Police personnel brough a person in the

chamber of IO who disclosed his name as A-1 as well as his age

and address. Mahesh Chandulal Fulwani (PW-28) identified A-1 as

the person who was brought in the chamber of the IO. He deposed

that he along with Girish Malpani; A-1, the IO and other police

personnel boarded a police vehicle. At that time, Dr. Chandak

followed them in his car separately. The police vehicle proceeded

as per the directions of A-1 whereas the car of Dr. Chandak was

following their car. A-1 led them up to vicinity of Patansaongi

village and thereafter towards village Babulkheda after which he

16
asked them to stop the vehicle near bridge. A-1 started

proceeding towards other end of the bridge on the road and

pointed out a pathway for going beneath the bridge. A-1 went

down under the bridge, towards the Rivulet and the rest followed

him. Mahesh Chandulal Fulwani (PW-28) deposed that there were

about seven to eight compartments of 30 feet length and 6 feet

width to allow water in the Rivulet to pass through but there was

no water in it. A-1 pointed out a place in the first channel of the

Rivulet where the dead body of a young boy was found covered

with leaves and sand particles. There was also a boulder/stone

covering the face of the victim. Mahesh Chandulal Fulwani (PW-28)

further deposed that the police personnel called an ambulance and

a photographer and also removed the leaves and other

obstructions from the dead body. Thereafter, Dr. Chandak who was

standing on the road near the bridge was called to come down and

he identified the dead body as that of his son, Yug. The panchnama

of the spot commenced at 21:15 hrs. and lasted up to 23:45 hrs.

The recovery of dead body is deposed by Dr. Chandak (PW-1) as

well as Shirish Sharadchandra Varhadpande (PW-18), the

photographer. On the basis of the disclosure statement of A-1, the

dead body was recovered, concealed under the bridge in the first

channel of the Rivulet.

ii) The recovery of other incriminating facts

23. The prosecution also examined Ajay Shankarrao Samarth (PW-21)

who is panch witness of the recovery of clothes at the instance of

17
A-1. A-1 had disclosed that he had concealed the clothes in his

house. Ajay Shankarrao Samarth (PW-21) deposed that A-1’s

mother was also present when A-1 entered the house along with

the panch and the police. A-1 produced an ATM Card,

handkerchief, shirt, pant which were wrapped and kept in a box. A-

1 pointed out two vehicles which were parked in front of his house,

in the courtyard – A black Honda motorbike and a purple scooty.

The footrest of the motorbike was smeared with sand particles

which were removed and seized in a plastic bag. Both the vehicles

were taken in possession.

24. Sunil Kothari (PW-26) is a Panch witness of the disclosure

statement of A-2. A-2 had disclosed that the blue T-shirt of the

deceased was taken from his person and thrown it in the Rivulet

located within the vicinity of the Village Lonkhairi. A-2 showed his

readiness to point out such place. One Arun is another Panch

witness of A-2’s disclosure statement. A-2 led the Panches and the

Police to the spot mentioned, where he had thrown the clothes and

pointed out such place. The IO called the sweepers for proceeding

towards the spot and instructed them to search for the clothes.

After searching for about 45 to 60 minutes, a sweeper fished out a

blue colour T-shirt from the the Rivulet. A-2 stated that it was the

same T-shirt of the deceased which was thrown by him in the

Rivulet.

25. Harsh Prakashchand Firodiya (PW-29) is a witness of disclosure

18
statement of A-2 made on 9th September, 2014 at about 19:00 hrs.

(Ex.111). The same was made in the presence of another Panch

witness as well, one Sunil Ajitmal Kothari. Harsh Prakashchand

Firodiya (PW-29) deposed that A-2 took the Police and the Panches

to his house, at some distance from Jaripatka Police Station. A-2’s

father was present outside, when A-2 entered his house. In his

room, A-2 removed a bag from an almirah within which there was a

Maroon school bag, a red T-shirt, black jeans, a cream shirt, and a

white knotted handkerchief. After opening the knot of such

handkerchief, A-2 produced an ear ring kept therein, which was

disclosed to be that of the deceased. The accused also took out a

pair of sandals as well as the bicycle kept in the adjoining room

used by him in the commission of the crime. All these articles

were taken in possession vide recovery memo (Ex.111/A). Further,

Dr. Chandak (PW-1) has identified the ear ring produced to be that

of his son. The prosecution also examined Pravin Chudamanji

Ganuwala (PW-20) who was a witness of the identification of the

red T-shirt being one supplied to the staff of Dr. Chandak (PW-1) at

his clinic.

26. Prashant Pandhari Motghare (PW-43) is a witness of another

disclosure statement (Ex.192) suffered by A-2 on 11 th September,

2014 at about 14:30 hrs. He marked the place where the murder

of the deceased was committed by throttling and smothering.

(C) Demand of Ransom

27. Manoj Thakkar (PW-4) is the panch witness in whose presence the

personal search of both the accused was conducted. From A-1, the

19
police recovered a black, Max Mobile Company cell phone and two

SIM cards. From the personal search of A-2, a black-silver Samsung

cell phone and two SIM cards were taken into possession.

28. Dr. Chandak (PW-1) deposed that he received a call at 20:17 hrs.

on his cell phone from the landline No. 3220601 on 1 st September,

2014. The caller disclosed his name as Mohsin Khan and asked Dr.

Chandak (PW-1) to bring him Rs.10 crores as Yug, PW-1’s son, was

in his custody. Thereafter at about 20:40 hrs. on the same day, he

received another call on his cell phone from the phone No.

8380927706. The caller disclosed that he should bring Rs.5 crores

on the following day at about 15:00 hrs. in Mumbai. Dr. Chandak

(PW-1) tried to ask him about the place in Mumbai but the caller

disconnected the phone.

29. The prosecution produced a copy of the customer application form

of landline No.3220601 as Exs.179 and 179/1 whereas the Call

Detail Record6 of landline No. 3220601 has been produced on

record as Ex.178/1. There was a call to PW-1’s cell phone at

20:17:28 hours. It has come on record that such number was that

of a Public Call Office (PCO). However, it is not available on record

as to who is the owner of the PCO was as well as who had seen the

person making the call. The customer application form of phone

No. 8380927706 is produced on record as Exs.215/1 and 215/2

whereas the CDR is Ex.214/1. There was a call at 20:38:03 hrs. of

31 seconds to Dr. Chandak (PW-1). Mohandas Mitharam Balani

(PW-16) is the person who owns the PCO from where the second
6 for short, ‘CDR’

20
call was made. He deposed that there was a coin box telephone

installed on the counter of his shop and that at around 20:30 hrs.

on 1st September, 2014, a boy came to his shop on a bicycle,

wanting to make a call from it. Mohandas Mitharam Balani (PW-16)

saw that the boy was talking on the phone from his coin box said,

“Paanch Karod Leke Ana” (Bring Five Crore Rupees). He also

deposed that before he could pay more attention, the boy left the

shop and went away on his bicycle. Mohandas Mitharam Balani

(PW-16) thereafter received information about the conduct of a TIP

on 30th October, 2014 at the Central Jail. He identified the person

making the call from the persons present therein. Such person

disclosed his name as Arvind Singh to the Magistrate. Vikas Mali

(PW-41) is the witness who produced the CDR of the cellphone of

Dr. Chandak (PW-1) vide Ex.187/2. He had also prepared the

certificate under Section 65(B) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 7

which was produced vide Ex.187/3.

30. Dattaram Shantaram Angre (PW-46) produced the CDR of Phone

No. 8380927706, from which the second ransom call was made.

The same is Ex.218/1 whereas the certificate issued under Section

65(B) of the Evidence Act is Ex.218/4 and the customer application

forms are Exs.218/2 and 218/3. The CDR of cellphone No.

7745855431 of Smt. Bhumeshwari Daware, A-1’s mother, is Ex.219

and Ex 219/1 whereas the certificate issued under Section 65(B) of

the Evidence Act is Ex.219/4 and the customer application forms
7 for short, ‘Evidence Act’

21
are Exs.219/2 and 219/3.

(D) Motive and Conspiracy

31. Motive and conspiracy are quite interlinked in the present appeals

and are, therefore, taken up for consideration together. Firstly, the

motive herein is the grievance of A-1 against Dr. Chandak (PW-1).

The daughter of Naresh Machale (PW-6) was a patient of Dr.

Chandak (PW-1). Naresh Machale (PW-6) deposed that on

4th August, 2014, Dr. Chandak (PW-1) told him to pay of sum of Rs.

500/- towards the treatment of his daughter but the person at

reception charged him Rs. 600/-. The person who charged Rs. 600/-

was identified by him as A-1. On his second visit, Dr. Chandak

(PW-1) told Naresh Machale (PW-6) to deposit Rs. 1500/- towards

the treatment of his daughter but A-1 who was at the reception

again, asked him to deposit Rs. 1600/-. Later, Naresh Machale

(PW-6) informed Dr. Chandak (PW-1) about the extra charges and

Dr. Chandak (PW-1) told him to visit his clinic for the verification of

the same.

32. Dr. Chandak (PW-1) deposed that he confronted A-1 as to why he

had charged extra sums from Naresh Machale (PW-6), but A-1 did

not accept his fault and claimed innocence. He told him that he will

confront him with Naresh Machale (PW-6) on the following day but

when Naresh Machale (PW-6) came to the clinic, A-1 was not on

duty. Thereafter, A-1 stopped attending PW-1’s clinic altogether

and left his employment without giving any information to him.

33. The excess amount being charged from Naresh Machale (PW-6) has

22
been corroborated by Sonam Meshram (PW-19), A-1’s friend. She

deposed that A-1 disclosed to her that he was charging Rs. 100/- to

Rs. 200/- more from Dr. Chandak’s patients. She further deposed

that A-1 told her that Dr. Chandak was paying him a meagre salary

of Rs. 3000/- whilst taking lot of work. Sonam Meshram (PW-19)

also deposed that A-1 abused Dr. Chandak and said that he would

teach him a lesson.

34. It appears that A-1 had an ambition to be rich at the earliest. Such

intention is proved by the prosecution examining Sandeep Katre

(PW-8), another friend of A-1’s. Sandeep Katre (PW-8) deposed

that A-1 was always in a hurry to become an affluent person. He

stated that on the day of Raksha Bandhan in 2014, A-1 came to his

house with A-2. A-1 inquired from him as to when and in what

manner his employer carries the cash from the office. Sandeep

Katre (PW-8) shared with him the relevant time during which his

employer carries the bag of cash. A-1 thereafter told Sandeep

Katre (PW-8) that whenever his employer starts proceeding with

cash out of the office, he should inform him on cellphone so that he

would be able to intercept PW-8’s employer and loot the cash from

him. A-1 stated that such cash would be distributed among all of

them. On 14th August, 2014, Sandeep Katre (PW-8) received a

phone call from A-1 as to whether his employer would carry cash

from his office. He told A-1 that there was less cash and, therefore,

not to come on that day. On 16th August, 2014, he again received

call from A-1 who informed him that his friend A-2, and two others

23
came with full preparation and awaited his phone call, but he did

not give him any response. A-1 repeatedly tried to contact

Sandeep Katre (PW-8) on his mobile phone inquiring about his

employer. Again, on the following day, A-1 informed him that he

would come with full preparation and was waiting for his call.

Sandeep Katre (PW-8) deposed that he again did not give them any

information. A-1 called Sandeep Katre (PW-8) to meet him at Pili

River area and upon reaching there he found that A-1, A-2 and two

others, who were friends of A-1 were all present. A-1 disclosed to

him that he was intending to kidnap a boy for ransom whose father

was an affluent person. He also stated that he would get a huge

amount after such kidnapping, but would disclose the name of the

boy to be kidnapped later on. A-1 further told him that the

kidnapped boy would be kept at his house under the surveillance

of his younger brother Ankush. Sandeep Katre (PW-8) deposed

that he along with A-1’s other two friends opposed A-1 for wanting

to commit such illegality, but A-1 went away on his bike. On 30 th

August, 2014, A-1 called him on his cellphone No. 9595517745 and

told him that he was intending to complete the task of kidnapping

on the following day. Again, on 1 st September, 2014 at about

15:30 hrs. to 15:45 hrs., A-1 contacted him from his cellphone and

told him that he wanted to kidnap a young boy. Sandeep Katre

(PW-8) told him that he does not want to get involved in such type

of illegal activities. However, on the following day, Sandeep Katre

(PW-8) came to know that Dr. Chandak’s son was kidnapped. He

24
contacted Dr. Chandak and informed him that such act of

kidnapping might have been committed by his employee i.e. A-1.

The police called Sandeep Katre (PW-8) on 4 th September, 2014

and the Magistrate recorded his statement under Section 164

Cr.P.C.

35. Sonam Meshram (PW-19), as mentioned earlier, who had deposed

that A-1 used to charge excess amounts from Dr. Chandak’s

patients had also deposed that A-1 proposed to her for marriage.

However, she asked him how he would bear the expenditure of

Rs.2 lakhs to be incurred for her course, when he had previously

disclosed to her that he left Dr. Chandak’s employment as he was

supposedly paying him a meagre salary. A-1 told her that she

should not worry about the money as he would be earning huge

amounts after completing a job. A-1 then told her that he was

planning to abduct the son of a rich person. Sonam Meshram (PW-

19) further deposed that on 1 st September, 2014, she made call to

A-1 from the cellphone of her room partner, but A-1 did not

respond. At about 11:30 hrs., when she contacted A-1 again, he

told her that he was busy in work. All these calls find mention in

CDR of A-1. The record shows that calls were exchanged between

Sonam Meshram (PW-19) and A-1 through the mobile of her friend

and room partner at 07:31:55 hrs.; 08:45:56 hrs., 08:46:51 hrs.,

11:36:46 hrs., 11:38:34 hrs. and 11:42:20 hrs. All these calls show

tower location as that in Vinoba Bhave Nagar. There is also a call

from A-1 to A-2 at 16:12:54 hrs. and the location of the tower is

25
Guru Darshan Complex Chhapru Nagar, Lakadganj Nagpur. There

are calls between A-1 and Ankush (A-3), the juvenile brother of A-1,

at 16:17:44 hrs.,16:56:08 hrs. and 17:36:53 hrs. as well.

36. Nilesh Gosavi (PW-25) who was posted at Lakadganj Police Station

as PSO had made a call to A-1 at 17:50:49 hrs., when the tower

location on record is at Patansaongi Tal Saoner. Thereafter,

Satyanarayan Jaiswal (PW-50), the Investigating Officer (IO) had

called A-1 at 18:33:59 hrs., when the tower location is at Vinoba

Bhave Nagar i.e. the area of A-1’s house. The IO made a second

call to A-1 at 18:46:52 hrs. when the tower location was near the

Itwari Railway Station i.e. on way to Police Station. There was also

a call from the mobile number of Rupali (PW-23) to A-1 at 18:50:24

hrs. A-1 had made a call to another mobile no. 7745855431 at

19:00:53 hrs. Further, there is another call by A-1 to N.T. Gosawi

(PW-25) at 19:49:06 hrs. These calls are from the Lakadganj area

as per location tower.

37. Dharmendra Yadav (PW-24) an employee of Dr. Chandak, deposed

that he had received a call from A-2. He was acquainted with A-1

as he was also working in the clinic. He deposed that A-1 used to

chat with him about big things. Therefore, he believed that he was

a person of great influence. He sought his help for admission in

college. A-1 asked him to meet him in the college and bring

Rs.5,000/- with him. A-1 introduced A-2 to him as well, who had

taken his mobile number at that time. There were three calls

exchanged between A-2 and Dharmendra Yadav (PW-24) from

26
19:28:15 hrs. to 19:32:50 hrs. of duration of 80 seconds, 31

seconds and 20 seconds when the mobile of A-2 was covered by

tower location in Vinoba Bhave Nagar. From the call details of A-2,

it transpires that A-2 was in Vinoba Bhave Nagar from 18:41:45

hrs. till 19:33:41 hrs. During this period, A-2 made a call to Pankaj

Khurpade (PW-15) at 19:33:41 hrs. Pankaj Khurpade (PW-15)

further deposed that A-2 sought Dr. Chandak’s number. The last

call at 20:55:35 hrs. had been made by A-2 to A-3 when tower

location was Zingabai Takali Koradi Road, Nagpur, i.e. the road from

Vinobha Bhave Nagar to Patansaongi Lake.

(E) Corroborative Evidence

38. The prosecution also examined Chitra Kamat (PW-47) who was an

Assistant Director in the Government Forensic Laboratory, Kalina,

Mumbai. Chitra Kamat (PW-47) received two parcels, one

containing hard disks and CD’s and another containing four sealed

envelopes. In one of the envelopes there were photographs of a

vehicle whereas in the other three, there were photographs of a

person for analysis. She assigned all the articles to Ajay Salunke

(PW-38) for analysis in the forensic laboratory. Ajay Salunke

(PW-38) prepared a report on 22 nd November, 2014. He deposed

that the CD had six videos files and such video files were

continuous and not edited at any point of time. He matched the

photographs on the CD with the photographs referred to by the

Police. He prepared a report Exh.160. As per the report, the person

in the videos resembles the photographs (Ex. 2, 3, 4 and 5) i.e. the

27
photographs of motor cycle, the two accused A-1, A-2 and the

deceased victim.

39. The CDRs of A-1 (Ex.176/1) corroborate the six phone calls

exchanged between A-1 and Sonam Meshram (PW-19) on

1st September, 2014 from 07:31:55 hrs. till 11:42:20 hrs., as

deposed by Sonam Meshram (PW-19). Such call details further

corroborate that Pankaj Khurpade (PW-15), an employee at Dr.

Chandak’s clinic had received a phone call from A-1 on his mobile

wherein, A-1 inquired about Dr. Chandak and his wife. Such call

was made soon before the kidnapping at 15:20:59 hrs. and stands

corroborated by the statement of Dharmendra Yadav (PW-24).

Dharmendra Yadav (PW-24) had deposed that he had received a

call from A-1 to find out as to whether Dr. Chandak and his wife are

in the clinic. Such CDRs also corroborate the statement of

Sandeep Katre (PW-8), when he deposed that he received a phone

call from A-1 on 1st September, 2014 at about 15:30 hrs. to 15:45

hrs. informing him that he wanted to kidnap a boy. The CDR shows

that such call was exchanged between A-1 and Sandeep Katre (PW-

8) at 15:44:31 hrs. The CDRs also corroborate the call made by

N.T. Gosawi (PW-25) and the IO to A-1.

40. On the other hand, the CDRs of A-2 (Ex.150/1) corroborate the calls

exchanged between A-2 and Dharmendra Yadav (PW-24) on

1st September, 2014 from 19:28 hrs. till 19:32 hrs. to inquire about

Dr. Chandak’s contact details, as also the call made by A-2 to

Pankaj Khurpade (PW-15), who had given the mobile number of Dr.

28
Chandak to A-2. The CDR’s also corroborate the call A-2 had made

to Dr. Chandak at 19:39:17 hrs. presumably to verify the number

given by Pankaj Khurpade (PW-15). It is thereafter the ransom call

was made at 20:53:18 hrs. and received by Dr. Chandak.

Mohandas Mitharam Balani (PW-16) has also corroborated such call

from his PCO. Thus, the oral testimonies of the prosecution

witnesses stand corroborated by the CDRs of both the accused.

Submissions on behalf of A-1

41. Before this Court, Mr. Yug Chaudhary, learned counsel for A-1

vehemently argued that both the Courts have overlooked material

evidence that A-1 was in Police custody from 18:50 hrs. on

1st September, 2014, though his formal arrest was reflected in the

records on 2nd September, 2014 at 17:10 hrs. The disclosure

statement was, thus, a direct result of his illegal custody and was

actuated by undue influence and coercion. It was also argued that

since A-1 was in custody of the Police, a fact admitted by the IO,

A-1 could not have played any role in the ransom call made on

1st September, 2014 at 20:38 hrs. Reliance herein was placed upon

Abdul Subhan & Anr. v. Emperor8.

42. It was argued that the prosecution had not led any evidence to

suggest that the deceased died before 18:00 hrs. i.e. the period

during which the deceased can be said to be in custody of the

accused as A-1 had received a call from N.T. Gosawi (PW-25) at

17:50 hrs., when he was in the area of Patansaongi lake which is

about 26 kms and 33 minutes away from his house. Since he was
8 AIR 1940 All. 46

29
at his house by 18:33 hrs., he must have left the area of

Patansaongi lake latest by 18:00 hrs. No question has been put to

A-1 in the statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. that the deceased

died before 18:00 hrs. It was argued that A-1 can be held guilty of

an offence under Section 302 IPC only if death is proved to have

been caused before 18:00 hrs. i.e. before he left the Patansaongi

lake. Reliance was placed upon Hate Singh Bhagat Singh v.

State of Madhya Bharat9 and Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v.

State of Maharashtra10. Further, a recent judgment of this Court

reported as Reena Hazarika v. State of Assam11 was also

referred to, to contend that the statement of an accused under

Section 313 Cr.P.C. is required to be considered. Non-consideration

therein would vitiate conviction.

43. It was argued that the deceased was sedated at the time of the

act of his smothering, a fact made out from the CCTV footage

played in the Court. However, the 13 abrasions on the face and

neck of the deceased shows that he resisted smothering and,

therefore, could not have been killed prior to 18:00 hrs. Since there

is a possibility that the deceased died after 18:00 hrs. i.e. after the

accused has surrendered, conviction for an offence under Section

302 IPC could not be sustained. It was further argued that the

ransom call was made after the arrest of A-1, therefore, the

conviction of A-1 for an offence under Section 364A IPC was not

sustainable.

9 AIR 1953 SC 468
10 (1984) 4 SCC 116
11 (2019) 13 SCC 289

30

44. The learned counsel for A-1 also argued that A-1 surrendered in the

Lakadganj Police Station at 18:50 hrs. Such surrender terminated

any conspiracy as he had withdrawn from it. The subsequent

conduct of a ransom call by his co-conspirator would not bind A-1,

especially in view of him being in custody when the ransom call

was made at 20:17 hrs. and 20:38 hrs. Reliance herein was

placed upon a judgment of this Court reported as State v. Nalini

& Ors.12. It was also argued that Madhuri Dhawalkar (PW-34) or

Shriram Khadatkar (PW-10) had not noticed any injury on the

person of the boy. There was no evidence of any blood or saliva on

the clothes of A-1 when the child was sitting in between two

accused or when A-1 had carried the child on his shoulders, as

deposed by Shriram Khadatkar (PW-10). It was, thus, argued that

if the victim had these injuries, the blood or saliva was bound to be

on A-1’s clothes. In this light, such injuries were possibly caused

after 18:00 hrs. when A-1 had left his co-conspirator from the

Patansaongi lake.

45. It was further argued that A-1 may have had the intention to

kidnap for ransom, but since the ransom call was made after the

conspiracy terminated and there was no evidence of threat to

cause death in the event of the ransom not being paid, an offence

under Section 363 IPC alone can be made out. It is also argued

that when A-2 had allegedly made ransom call, such call

necessarily meant that the victim was alive, as human conduct in

12 (1999) 5 SCC 253

31
terms of Section 114 of the Evidence Act defies the logic of making

a ransom call when a victim has already been killed. Therefore, A-

1 could not have participated in the killing of the deceased in view

of the fact that he was in Police custody from 18:50 hrs. It was

also pointed out that since there was no repeat call of ransom, it

only showed that the victim was killed after the ransom call was

made at 20:38 hrs. It was argued that the intention of the accused

under Section 34 IPC must continue to exist till the completion of

the crime of the offence. Reliance herein was placed upon Jai

Bhagwan & Ors. v. State of Haryana13 and Suresh & Anr. v.

State of U.P.14

46. Further, it was submitted that the argument that the victim died

before 18:00 hrs. is an argument raised in appeal before this Court

for the first time and, therefore, the prosecution cannot be

permitted to change the manner of commission of crime. Reliance

was placed upon Karanpura Development Co. Ltd. v. Raja

Kamakshya Narain Singh, etc.15 and Sri Venkataramana

Devaru & Ors. v. State of Mysore & Ors.16.

47. Learned Counsel for A-1 also disputed the recovery of the dead

body pursuant to the disclosure statement suffered by A-1. It was

argued that in such disclosure statement, no fact has been

disclosed about the manner of causing death. The disclosure

statement has to be recorded in the exact words used by the

13 (1999) 3 SCC 102
14 (2001) 3 SCC 673
15 AIR 1956 SC 446
16 AIR 1958 SC 255

32
accused as held by this Court in State of Karnataka v. David

Rozario & Anr.17 It was argued that since the manner of killing is

not mentioned in the disclosure statement, A-1 cannot be held

guilty of causing death.

48. In the alternative, it was argued that the recovery of the dead body

will only lead to an inference that the accused had knowledge of

the spot of concealment. It was argued that as per the statement

of S.K. Jaiswal (PW-50), the IO, A-1 confessed to crime on

interrogation but it has not been explained that how and why the

disclosure statement came to be recorded almost 24 hours after

his surrender. Learned counsel for A-1 also doubted the recovery

of clothes and the handkerchief from the house of A-1 on 8 th

September, 2014. Such handkerchief had two blood stains, one of

the deceased and the other of an unknown male. There was a

blood stain on the jeans as well. The blood stain on the jeans and

unknown blood stain on the handkerchief matched. Therefore, A-1

could not be held guilty of taking life of the deceased in the

absence of blood stain of the victim on his clothes.

Submissions on behalf of A-2

49. On the other hand, learned counsel for A-2 argued that there was

no motive attributed to A-2 as the prosecution relied upon

circumstantial evidence. There was no evidence of A-2 conspiring

with A-1 or that he had any idea about the real motive of A-1 of

taking vengeance from Dr. Chandak (PW-1), the complainant. A-1

first planned to execute the kidnapping with the help of Sandeep
17 (2002) 7 SCC 728

33
Katre (PW-8). This was discussed at the time when both A-1 and

Sandeep Katre (PW-8) were conspiring to loot the employer of

Sandeep Katre (PW-8). It was also argued that Rupali (PW-23) had

identified A-2 in the witness box for the first time as no TIP was

conducted to identify the A-2 by her. Further, it was submitted that

Rupali (PW-23) admitted that she had delivered a child by

caesarean surgery on 7th October, 2014 and was advised bed rest

on 1st September, 2014. Therefore, it is highly improbable that

during the advance stage of her pregnancy, she was able to wash

clothes and see both the accused along with a minor child.

50. Learned counsel for A-2 further argued that there was no TIP

conducted to identify the accused by Namdeo Dhawale (PW-11). It

was obvious that the said witness had seen the motorbike of the

accused in a running condition when he was managing his herd of

goats. The testimony of Divya Chandel (PW-9) was also criticized

for the reason that she saw the motorbike from a distance of 15

feet as it would take only 2-3 seconds for the motorbike to pass

through, therefore, it was highly improbable that she was able to

see the faces of the motorbike riders. It was also argued that the

dead body was recovered at the instance of A-1. A-2 remained near

the bridge and did not take any part in the commission of the

crime of murder of the minor child and, therefore, in all

probabilities, the crime has been committed by A-1 between 17:30

hrs. to 18:00 hrs. to wreak vengeance upon the complainant.

51. It was also argued that veracity of demand of ransom by A-2 was

34
doubtful. The FIR was lodged at 17:10 hrs. but the IO did not make

any arrangement for the recording of the ransom call. The IO did

not take the voice sample of the accused for identification by Dr.

Chandak (PW-1). A-2 was said to be identified by Mohandas

Mitharam Balani (PW-16) on 30th October, 2014 after much delay.

Further, the statement of Mohandas Mitharam Balani (PW-16) was

also doubted, that he had heard A-2 raising a demand of ransom as

a PCO would have some kind of privacy mechanism between the

caller and the owner.

52. It was further argued that the disclosure statement in respect of

articles said to be concealed in house of A-2 did not stand proved

as his house was locked after 3rd September, 2014. Haribhau

Dahake (DW-1), the landlord of the said house deposed that the

family of A-2 had left the house on 3rd September, 2014 and did not

return whereas the father of A-2 came to pay rent in October,

2014. It was also argued that an offence under Section 364A IPC is

not made out against A-2 as the ransom call did not include a

threat to life, which is a necessary ingredient of an offence under

Section 364A IPC.

53. Apart from disputing the findings recorded by both the courts, it

was argued that the sentence of death imposed upon the accused

was not justified as the accused were young, students of

undergraduate classes, had jobs to sustain them and had no

criminal antecedents. It was not a rarest of the rare case,

warranting death sentence. In respect of A-1, it was additionally

35
argued that A-1 immediately surrendered at the first available

opportunity and he did not even delay or tried to abscond. He fully

cooperated with the investigation. He confessed to the IO which

shows remorse.

Findings

i) Whether A-1 was arrested on 1st September 2014

54. We have heard learned counsel for the parties at length and find

no reason to take a different view than what has been taken by the

trial court and the High Court in the matter of conviction. The

entire sheet anchor of the argument of learned counsel for A-1 is

that A-1 was in Police custody from 18:50 hrs. on 1 st September,

2014 and such aspect has not been considered either by the trial

court or by the High Court. In the written notes of the arguments

submitted by A-1 before the trial court, nothing has been raised

regarding A-1 being in custody from 18:50 hrs. on 1 st September,

2014. Such an argument was not raised for good reasons, which

are delineated hereinafter.

55. Manoj Thakkar (PW-4) is the witness of seizure of mobile phones

and sim cards of A-1 and A-2. A-1 was arrested at 14:30 hrs.

whereas A-2 was arrested at 16:30 hrs. on 2 nd September, 2014

as per column 8 of the arrest memo. 17.10 hrs. is the time, when

the accused were in the Police Station Lakadganj. As per

statement of Manoj Thakkar (PW-4), he was called upon to become

panch witness when he was returning from Wardhman Nagar to his

residence at Qweta Colony in Nagpur. Manoj Thakkar (PW-4)

36
deposed that the Police took personal search of the accused in his

presence and recovered the mobile phones. However, no cross-

examination has been conducted that the personal search was

done at any point earlier than the arrest. Still further, A-1 had

made a call to N.T. Gosawi (PW-25) at 19:49:06 hrs. An accused in

custody will not be permitted to make a call to a Police official. It

corroborates the stand of the prosecution that A-1 was arrested on

2nd September, 2014. Still further, the IO had admitted in the

cross-examination that he called A-1 in the Police Station on 1 st

September, 2014 for investigation. He denied that A-1 was in

police custody. He deposed that A-1 visited police station on the

day after he had called A-1 on his cell phone. A-1 was called for

inquiry as he was one of the former employees of the clinic of Dr.

Chandak.

56. A witness is required to be cross-examined in a criminal trial to test

his veracity; to discover who he is and what his position in life is; or

to shake his credit, by injuring his character, although the answer

to such questions may directly or indirectly incriminate him or may

directly or indirectly expose him to a penalty or forfeiture (Section

146 of the Evidence Act). A witness is required to be cross-

examined to bring forth inconsistencies, discrepancies and to prove

the untruthfulness of the witness. A-1 set up a case of his arrest

on 1st September, 2014 from 18:50 hrs., therefore, it was required

for him to cross-examine the truthfulness of the prosecution

witnesses with regard to that particular aspect. The argument that

37
the accused was shown to be arrested around 19:00 hrs. is an

incorrect reading of the arrest form (Ex.17). In Col. 8, it has been

specifically mentioned that the accused was taken into custody on

2nd September, 2014 at 14:30 hrs. at Wanjri Layout, Police Station,

Kalamna. The time i.e. 17:10 hrs. mentioned in Col. 2, appears to

be when A-1 was brought to the Police Station, Lakadganj. As per

the IO, A-1 was called for interrogation as the suspicion was on an

employee of Dr. Chandak since the kidnapper was wearing red

colour T-shirt which was given by Dr. Chandak to his employees. A-

1 travelled from the stage of suspect to an accused only on 2 nd

September, 2014. Since, no cross-examination was conducted on

any of the prosecution witnesses about the place and manner of

the arrest, such an argument that the accused was arrested on 1 st

September, 2014 at 18:50 hrs. is not tenable.

57. The House of Lords in a judgment reported as Browne v. Dunn18

considered the principles of appreciation of evidence. Lord

Chancellor Herschell, held that it is absolutely essential to the

proper conduct of a cause, where it is intended to suggest that a

witness if not speaking the truth on a particular point, to direct his

attention to the fact by some questions put in cross-examination

showing that imputation is intended to be made, and not to take

his evidence and pass it by as a matter altogether unchallenged. It

was held as under:

“Now, my Lords, I cannot help saying that it seems to
me to be absolutely essential to the proper conduct of a
cause, where it is intended to suggest that a witness is
18 (1894) VI The Reports 67 (HL)

38
not speaking the truth on a particular point, to direct his
attention to the fact by some questions put in cross-
examination showing that that imputation is intended to
be made, and not to take his evidence and pass it by as
a matter altogether unchallenged, and then, when it is
impossible for him to explain, as perhaps he might have
been able to do if such questions had been put to him,
the circumstances which it is suggested indicate that
the story he tells ought not to be believed, to argue that
he is a witness unworthy of credit. My Lords, I have
always understood that if you intend to impeach a
witness you are bound, whilst he is in the box, to give
him an opportunity of making any explanation which is
open to him; and, as it seems to me, that is not only a
rule of professional practice in the conduct of a case,
but is essential to fair play and fair dealing with
witnesses. Sometimes reflections have been made
upon excessive cross-examination of witnesses, and it
has bene complained of as undue; but it seems to me
that a cross-examination of a witness which errs in the
direction of excess may be far more fair to him than to
leave him without cross-examination, and afterwards to
suggest that he is not a witness of truth, I mean upon a
point on which it is not otherwise perfectly clear that he
has had full notice beforehand that there is an intention
to impeach the credibility of the story which he is
telling.”

58. Lord Halsbury, in a separate but concurring opinion, held as under:

“My Lords, with regard to the manner in which the
evidence was given in this case, I cannot too heartily
express my concurrence with the Lord Chancellor as to
the mode in which a trial should be conducted. To my
mind nothing would be more absolutely unjust than not
to cross-examine witnesses upon evidence which they
have given, so as to give them notice, and to give them
an opportunity of explanation, and an opportunity very
often to defend their own character, and, not having
given them such an opportunity, to ask the jury
afterwards to disbelieve what they have said, although
not one question has been directed either to their credit
or to the accuracy of the facts they have deposed to.”

59. This Court in a judgment reported as State of U.P. v. Nahar

39
Singh19
, quoted from Browne to hold that in the absence of cross-

examination on the explanation of delay, the evidence of PW-1

remained unchallenged and ought to have been believed by the

High Court. Section 146 of the Evidence Act confers a valuable

right of cross-examining the witness tendered in evidence by the

opposite party. This Court held as under: –

“13. It may be noted here that that part of the
statement of PW 1 was not cross-examined by the
accused. In the absence of cross-examination on the
explanation of delay, the evidence of PW 1 remained
unchallenged and ought to have been believed by the
High Court. Section 138 of the Evidence Act confers a
valuable right of cross-examining the witness tendered
in evidence by the opposite party. The scope of that
provision is enlarged by Section 146 of the Evidence Act
by allowing a witness to be questioned:

(1) to test his veracity,

(2) to discover who he is and what is his position in life,
or

(3) to shake his credit by injuring his character,
although the answer to such questions might tend
directly or indirectly to incriminate him or might expose
or tend directly or indirectly to expose him to a penalty
or forfeiture.”

60. This Court in a judgment reported as Muddasani Venkata

Narsaiah (Dead) through LRs. v. Muddasani Sarojana20 laid

down that the party is obliged to put his case in cross-examination

of witnesses of opposite party. The rule of putting one’s version in

cross-examination is one of essential justice and not merely

technical one. It was held as under:

“15. Moreover, there was no effective cross-

examination made on the plaintiff’s witnesses with
19 (1998) 3 SCC 561
20 (2016) 12 SCC 288

40
respect to factum of execution of sale deed, PW 1 and
PW 2 have not been cross-examined as to factum of
execution of sale deed. The cross-examination is a
matter of substance not of procedure one is required to
put one’s own version in cross-examination of opponent.
The effect of non-cross-examination is that the
statement of witness has not been disputed. The effect
of not cross-examining the witnesses has been
considered by this Court in Bhoju Mandal v. Debnath
Bhagat [Bhoju Mandal
v. Debnath Bhagat, AIR 1963 SC
1906] . This Court repelled a submission on the ground
that the same was not put either to the witnesses or
suggested before the courts below. Party is required to
put his version to the witness. If no such questions are
put the Court would presume that the witness account
has been accepted as held in Chuni Lal Dwarka
Nath v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. [Chuni Lal
Dwarka Nath
v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co. Ltd., 1957
SCC OnLine P&H 177 : AIR 1958 P&H 440]

16. In Maroti Bansi Teli v. Radhabai [Maroti Bansi
Teli v. Radhabai, 1943 SCC OnLine MP 128 : AIR 1945
Nag 60] , it has been laid down that the matters sworn
to by one party in the pleadings not challenged either in
pleadings or cross-examination by other party must be
accepted as fully established. The High Court of Calcutta
in A.E.G. Carapiet v. A.Y. Derderian [A.E.G.

Carapiet v. A.Y. Derderian, 1960 SCC OnLine Cal 44 : AIR
1961 Cal 359] has laid down that the party is obliged to
put his case in cross-examination of witnesses of
opposite party. The rule of putting one’s version in cross-
examination is one of essential justice and not merely
technical one. A Division Bench of the Nagpur High
Court in Kuwarlal Amritlal v. Rekhlal Koduram [Kuwarlal
Amritlal v. Rekhlal Koduram, 1949 SCC OnLine MP 35 :
AIR 1950 Nag 83] has laid down that when attestation is
not specifically challenged and witness is not cross-
examined regarding details of attestation, it is sufficient
for him to say that the document was attested. If the
other side wants to challenge that statement, it is their
duty, quite apart from raising it in the pleadings, to
cross-examine the witness along those lines. A Division
Bench of the Patna High Court in Karnidan
Sarda v. Sailaja Kanta Mitra [Karnidan Sarda v. Sailaja
Kanta Mitra, 1940 SCC OnLine Pat 288 : AIR 1940 Pat
683] has laid down that it cannot be too strongly
emphasised that the system of administration of justice
allows of cross-examination of opposite party’s

41
witnesses for the purpose of testing their evidence, and
it must be assumed that when the witnesses were not
tested in that way, their evidence is to be ordinarily
accepted. In the aforesaid circumstances, the High
Court has gravely erred in law in reversing the findings
of the first appellate court as to the factum of execution
of the sale deed in favour of the plaintiff.”

61. The rule of evidence is common both to the civil and the criminal

trials. Though, in a criminal trial, this court in K.M. Nanavati v.

State of Maharashtra21, held that there is a presumption of

innocence in favour of the accused as a general rule, and it is the

duty of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused; to put it

in other words, the accused is presumed to be innocent until his

guilt is established by the prosecution. This Court held as follows:

“18….. In India, as it is in England, there is a
presumption of innocence in favour of the accused as a
general rule, and it is the duty of the prosecution to
prove the guilt of the accused; to put it in other words,
the accused is presumed to be innocent until his guilt is
established by the prosecution. But when an accused
relies upon the general exceptions in the Indian Penal
Code
or on any special exception or proviso contained in
any other part of the Penal Code, or in any law defining
an offence, Section 105 of the Evidence Act raises a
presumption against the accused and also throws a
burden on him to rebut the said presumption. Under
that Section the Court shall presume the absence of
circumstances bringing the case within any of the
exceptions, that is, the court shall regard the non-
existence of such circumstances as proved till they are
disproved……..”

62. In Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakkar v. State of Gujarat22, this

court while examining an argument of the accused that he was

medically insane person, it was held that it is a fundamental
21 AIR 1962 SC 605
22 AIR 1964 SC 1563

42
principle of criminal jurisprudence that an accused is presumed to

be innocent and, therefore, the fact that the accused was

incapable of knowing the nature of his act, the burden of proving

the existence of circumstances bringing the case within the

exception under Section 105 of Evidence Act lies on the accused.

It was held as under:

“5. ..…It is a fundamental principle of criminal
jurisprudence that an accused is presumed to be
innocent and, therefore, the burden lies on the
prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt. The prosecution, therefore, in a case
of homicide shall prove beyond reasonable doubt that
the accused caused death with the requisite intention
described in Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code. This
general burden never shifts and it always rests on the
prosecution. But, as Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
provides that nothing is an offence if the accused at the
time of doing that act, by reason of unsoundness of
mind was incapable of knowing the nature of his act or
what he was doing was either wrong or contrary to law.
This being an exception, under Section 105 of the
Evidence Act the burden of proving the existence of
circumstances bringing the case within the said
exception lies on the accused; ……….”

63. Thus, the prosecution is required to bring home the guilt beyond

reasonable doubt. It is open to an accused to raise such

reasonable doubt by cross-examination of the prosecution

witnesses to discredit such witness in respect of truthfulness and

veracity. However, where the statement of prosecution witnesses

cannot be doubted on the basis of the touchstone of truthfulness,

contradictions and inconsistencies, and the accused wants to

assert any particular fact which cannot be made out from the

prosecution evidence, it is incumbent upon the accused to cross-

43
examine the relevant witnesses to that extent. The witness, in

order to impeach the truthfulness of his statement, must be cross-

examined to seek any explanation in respect of a version, which

accused wants to rely upon rather to raise an argument at the trial

or appellate stage to infer a fact when the opportunity given was

not availed of as part of fair play while appreciating the statement

of the witnesses. Thus, we hold that a party intending to bring

evidence to impeach or contradict the testimony of a witness must

give an opportunity to explain or answer when the witness is in the

witness box.

64. The testimony of the prosecution witnesses does not lead to any

inference that A-1 was in Police custody from 18:50 hrs. He was

only called for an inquiry for the reason that the employees

engaged by Dr. Chandak used to wear a red colour T-shirt in his

clinic and as the information at that stage was that one of the

accused was wearing a red colour T-shirt, A-1 was called for

information. His presence in the Police Station on 1st September,

2014 was only as a suspect. He became an accused only when he

was arrested on 2nd September, 2014 at 14:30 hrs.

65. Mr. Chaudhary also pointed out that the CDR of A-1 (Ex.176/1)

shows that his mobile phone was always in the range of Police

Station Lakadganj from 18:50 hrs. The best witness to seek

information of his arrest was the IO. He denied the arrest on

1st September, 2014. The other witness who could be cross-

examined was Manoj Thakkar (PW-4). But he was not cross

44
examined in this respect. At this stage, it is not open to this Court

to infer any such fact, in the absence of any evidence to the

contrary on record. He had access to his mobile all through before

his arrest on 2nd September, 2014. An accused will not be provided

access to mobile phone when in custody. He has called N.T. Gosawi

(PW-25) at 19:49:06 hrs. on 1 st September, 2014. In fact, the

statement of DW-1, the mother of the A-1, contradicts the entire

argument of A-1 voluntary going to police station on 1 st

September, 2014. She deposed that 4-5 policemen had taken A-1

from her house as per the information of Ankush, the juvenile.

Thus, the accused has not been able to create doubt in respect of

his arrest on 2nd September 2014.

66. Pankaj Khurpade (PW-15) deposed that he was employed as an

attendant in the clinic of Dr. Chandak. He is acquainted with other

staff members of the clinic including Dharmendra Yadav and A-1.

He deposed that at 19:30 hrs., he received a phone call from A-2.

The caller disclosed his name as Arvind, friend of A-1. He wanted

cell number of Dr. Chandak. He gave the cell number of Dr.

Chandak to him. Such statement is corroborated by CDRs of A-2.

67. Mr. Chaudhary admitted the presence of A-1 with the kidnapped

boy from 16:00 hrs. till 17:30 hrs. or so, a finding which has been

recorded by the trial court as well as by the High Court. Such

finding is, in fact, unassailable at the instance of A-1 as well. The

argument is that the prosecution had failed to prove that A-1 was

responsible for causing death of the boy. He was near Patansaongi

45
lake, when he received a call from N.T. Gosawi (PW-25) at 17:50:49

hrs. He was to his house in Vinoba Bhave Nagar at 18:31:46 hrs.

and in the Police Station at 18:50 hrs. Thus, he must have left the

area of Patansaongi any time before 18:00 hrs. Therefore, to prove

the charge of culpable homicide amounting to murder against the

accused, the prosecution must prove that the victim died before

18:00 hrs. It is argued that in the absence of evidence of causing

death by accused, and in the absence of call of ransom before

18:00 hrs., he can at best be convicted for an offence under

Section 363 IPC. For an offence under Section 364A IPC, according

to Mr. Chaudhary, the prosecution is required to prove demand of

ransom, and threat to cause death in case of non-payment of

ransom. Since the ransom call is said to have been made by A-2 at

20:38 hrs. when A-1 was in the Police Station, therefore, the

prosecution has failed to prove that such ransom call is attributed

to A-1 and that there was a threat to take life of the victim.

68. We do not find any merit in the said argument as well. There is

overwhelming evidence of A-1 having motive to cause damage to

Dr. Chandak on account of payment of less salary, more work and

scolding on account of over-charging customers. Such motive gets

further strengthened by the desire in A-1 to get rich even by

robbing employer of Sandeep Katre (PW-8), when he planned

looting of cash. Such evidence is corroborated by Sonam Meshram

(PW-19), the friend of A-1. The desire to get rich by whatever

means was a driving force with A-1 to kidnap a young child of 8

46
years, who was a school going innocent child, who happened to be

a son of well-to-do dentist couple. Initially, A-1 conspired with

Sandeep Katre (PW-8) but on his developing cold-feet, he

associated A-2 in his nefarious design to make money by the

abduction of a young child. The conduct of A-1 in seeking

assistance of Sandeep Katre (PW-8) and the calls exchanged

between Sonam Meshram (PW-19) and A-1 shows the

desperation of A-1 to kidnap for ransom. The intention to kidnap

was only with a motive of becoming rich by obtaining a ransom. To

achieve that motive, A-1 had associated A-2, a fact deposed by

Sandeep Katre (PW-8) and Sonam Meshram (PW-19). A-1 and A-2

were together at different stages of the commission of the crime

from almost 16:00 hrs. till almost 18:00 hrs., and later till 18:33:59

hrs., when both of them were at the house of A-1 in Vinoba Bhave

Nagar. Such facts have come on evidence from the testimony of

Arun Meshram (PW-31); Rajan Tiwari (PW-2); Rupali (PW-23)-the

neighbour of A-1; Ms. Madhuri Permanand Dhawalkar (PW-34)-the

dispenser at the petrol pump; Divya Chandel (PW-9); Shriram

Shankarrao Khadatkar (PW-10) and Namdeo Dhawale (PW-11) and

the call details of both the accused. It has also come on record

that A-1 and Sonam Meshram (PW-19) had earlier visited the area

in question while on the way to visit the temple of Lord Ganesha.

Thus A-1 was familiar with the area, therefore, he found it

appropriate to achieve his nefarious design at that place.

69. The argument of Mr. Chaudhary is that the prosecution has not

47
proved the time of death i.e. before 18:00 hrs. If the prosecution is

able to the prove the death before 18:00 hrs., only then, A-1 can

be said to be guilty of an offence under Section 302 IPC, otherwise,

the accused cannot be held guilty of a culpable homicide

amounting to murder.

70. From the CDR, A-1 was in the area of Patansaongi Lake from

17:36:53 hrs. to 17:50:49 hrs.; in Vinoba Bhave Nagar, i.e. from

18:31:46 hrs. to 18:33:59 hrs.; whereas, A-2 was in Vinoba Bhave

Nagar area from 18:41:45 hrs. till 19:39:17 hrs. A-2 had called

Ankush – the juvenile at 20:55:35 hrs., when he was on Takali

Koradi Road i.e. the road between Patansaongi and Vinoba Bhave

Nagar. The calls between A-1, A-2 and Dharmendra Yadav (PW-24)

were exchanged between 19:28:15 hrs. to 19:32:50 hrs.

Dharmendra Yadav (PW-24) was also in employment in the clinic of

Dr. Chandak. He was acquainted with A-1 as he was also working

in that clinic. He deposed that at about 19:00 hrs., A-2 called him

and inquired about A-1. He also demanded the cellphone number

of Dr. Chandak disclosing his name as Arvind, friend of A-1. He had

not given him the cellphone number of Dr. Chandak as it was not

available with him. After sometime, the phone was disconnected

and within 5-10 minutes, he received another call from A-2 who

sought the cellphone number of Pankaj Khurpade (PW-15). He had

given cellphone number of Pankaj Khurpade (PW-15) to him.

71. The judgment in Abdul Subhan is not applicable to the facts of

the present case for the reason that A-1 was not proved to be

48
arrested on 1st September, 2014. In the reported judgment, the

person who was said to have arrested the accused prior to the

actual date of arrest, was examined before the High Court. It was

on the basis of the additional evidence recorded, the High Court

observed “that the statement made by Punwan, accused, in his

confession to the effect that he was apprehended on 1 st March,

1938 is very probably true”. The IO in his statement before the

High Court could not convince the Court that he had not arrested

Punnu, accused, till 6th March, 1938. But the facts in the present

appeals does not lead to any inference of the arrest of A-1 on 1 st

September, 2014.

ii) Whether Common intention was terminated before the
demand of ransom and death of victim

72. The argument that the conspiracy terminated the moment, A-1

surrendered in the Lakadganj Police Station at 18:50 hrs. on

1st September, 2014, is again not tenable. In Nalini’s case itself, it

has been held as under:

“662. … It is not necessary that all the conspirators
should participate from the inception to the end of the
conspiracy; some may join the conspiracy after the time
when such intention was first entertained by any one of
them and some others may quit from the conspiracy. All
of them cannot but be treated as conspirators. Where in
pursuance of the agreement the conspirators commit
offences individually or adopt illegal means to do a legal
act which has a nexus to the object of conspiracy, all of
them will be liable for such offences even if some of
them have not actively participated in the commission
of those offences.”

73. The said judgment was quoted with approval in Central Bureau

49
of Investigation & Anr. v. Mohd. Parvez Abdul Kayuum &

Ors.23. Thus, it is not necessary that A-1 should participate till the

end of conspiracy as some may quit from the conspiracy but all of

them would be treated as conspirators. The common intention

requires a pre-arranged plan and prior concert. Thus, there must

be prior meeting of minds. The common intention must exist prior

to the commission of the act in a point of time.

74. A-1 is the driving force behind the conspiracy to kidnap for ransom.

Merely because A-1 was physically separated from co-conspirator

either before or after the death of the victim will not absolve him of

offence under Section 302 IPC or Section 364A as both A-1 and A-2

were acting in tandem with each other. It is so evident that A-1

received a phone call from A-2 when he was in Police Station at

19:04:17 hrs. when Dr. Chandak was also present in Police Station.

Though, the ransom call was made by A-2 but in view of Section 34

IPC, the consequence of such ransom call will be equally borne by

A-1 also, as the planning of kidnapping for the purpose of ransom

was that of A-1. It is the A-1 who had the motive to harm Dr.

Chandak and also to be rich at the earliest. We do not find any

merit in the argument that to make out an offence under Section

302 IPC against A-1, the prosecution must prove the factum of

death of the victim prior to 18:00 hrs. The medical evidence

corroborates the time of death i.e. from 12 noon to midnight. The

opinion of the expert can only suggest the time range, and not the

precise time of death. The fact is that victim is proved to be in
23 (2019) 12 SCC 1

50
custody of A-1 and A-2 till 18:00 hrs. or so and, thus, in terms of

provisions of Section 106 of the Evidence Act, it is for the accused

to explain what happened to the victim before he was done to

death. Since the victim was in custody of A-1 and A-2 and there is

no evidence of any intervening factor to doubt that there could be

a possibility of third person, it is for them to discharge the burden

of such fact which is within their knowledge.

75. This Court in Jai Bhagwan relied upon by the appellant, held that

to apply Section 34 IPC apart from the fact that there should be

two or more accused, two factors must be established: ( i) common

intention and (ii) participation of the accused in the commission of

an offence. If a common intention is proved but no overt act is at-

tributed to the individual accused, Section 34 IPC will be attracted

as it essentially involves vicarious liability but if participation of the

accused in the crime is proved and a common intention is absent,

Section 34 IPC cannot be invoked. In every case, it is not possible

to have direct evidence of a common intention. It has to be in-

ferred from the facts and circumstances of each case. In Suresh,

this Court held that the concept of presence of the co-accused at

the scene is not a necessary requirement to attract Section 34 IPC.

The one line in the para can be read in isolation to argue that phys-

ical presence of an accused is necessary. In fact, this Court held as

under:

“40. Participation in the crime in furtherance of the
common intention cannot conceive of some
independent criminal act by all accused persons,
besides the ultimate criminal act because for that

51
individual act law takes care of making such accused
responsible under the other provisions of the Code. The
word “act” used in Section 34 denotes a series of acts
as a single act. What is required under law is that the
accused persons sharing the common intention must be
physically present at the scene of occurrence and be
shown not to have dissuaded themselves from the
intended criminal act for which they shared the common
intention. Culpability under Section 34 cannot be
excluded by mere distance from the scene of
occurrence. The presumption of constructive intention,
however, has to be arrived at only when the court can,
with judicial servitude, hold that the accused must have
preconceived the result that ensued in furtherance of
the common intention. A Division Bench of the Patna
High Court in Satrughan Patar v. Emperor [AIR 1919 Pat
111 : 20 Cri LJ 289] held that it is only when a court with
some certainty holds that a particular accused must
have preconceived or premeditated the result which
ensued or acted in concert with others in order to bring
about that result, that Section 34 may be applied.”
(Emphasis Supplied)

76. In the present appeals, the facts speak volumes about the common

intention shared by both the appellants. Both the accused planned

the kidnapping and executed it together. A-1 called Dharmendra

Yadav (PW-24), even before the victim could be kidnapped to make

sure that the parents of the child were not at home. A-2 is the one

who picked up the child from the gate of the Apartment building.

They were together till at least 18:33 hrs. whereas; the tower loca-

tion of the mobile of A-2 was Vinoba Bhave Nagar till 19.39 hrs.,

which is the area of the House of A-1. The conspiracy never came

to an end when A-2 called Dr. Chandak (PW-1) demanding ransom,

which was the reason of kidnapping the boy. Thus, the facts prove

that both the accused had a common intention to kidnap the child.

52

iii) Applicability of Section 106 of the Evidence Act

77. The most important aspect in the present appeals is presumption

under Section 106 of the Evidence Act. This Court has examined

the scope of Section 106 of the Evidence Act in Shambu Nath

Mehra v. State of Ajmer24, State of W.B. v. Mir Mohammad

Omar & Ors.25, Sucha Singh v. State of Punjab26, Rajender v.

State (NCT of Delhi)27. In Shambu Nath Mehra, this court held

that Section 106 must be considered in a commonsense way; and

the balance of convenience and the disproportion of the labour

that would be involved in finding out and proving certain facts

balanced against the triviality of the issue at stake and the ease

with which the accused could prove them, are all matters that

must be taken into consideration. The section cannot be used to

undermine the well-established rule of law that, save in a very

exceptional class of case, the burden is on the prosecution and

never shifts. This Court held as under:

“9. This lays down the general rule that in a criminal
case the burden of proof is on the prosecution and
Section 106 is certainly not intended to relieve it of that
duty. On the contrary, it is designed to meet certain
exceptional cases in which it would be impossible, or at
any rate disproportionately difficult, for the prosecution
to establish facts which are “especially” within the
knowledge of the accused and which he could prove
without difficulty or inconvenience. The word
“especially” stresses that. It means facts that are pre-

eminently or exceptionally within his knowledge. If the
section were to be interpreted otherwise, it would lead
to the very startling conclusion that in a murder case

24 AIR 1956 SC 404
25 (2000) 8 SCC 382
26 (2001) 4 SCC 375
27 (2019) 10 SCC 623

53
the burden lies on the accused to prove that he did not
commit the murder because who could know better than
he whether he did or did not. It is evident that that
cannot be the intention and the Privy Council has twice
refused to construe this section, as reproduced in
certain other Acts outside India, to mean that the
burden lies on an accused person to show that he did
not commit the crime for which he is tried. These cases
are Attygalle v. Emperor [AIR 1936 PC 169]
and Seneviratne v. R. [(1936) 3 All ER 36, 49]”

78. The Mir Mohammad Omar case was a case of abduction. This

Court after finding that the accused have abducted the deceased,

held as under:

“30. The abductors have not given any explanation as to
what happened to Mahesh after he was abducted by
them. But the learned Sessions Judge after referring to
the law on circumstantial evidence concluded thus:

“On a careful analysis and appreciation of the evidence I
think that there is a missing link in the chain of events
after the deceased was last seen together with the
accused persons and the discovery of the dead body of
the deceased at Islamia Hospital. Therefore, the
conclusion seems irresistible that the prosecution has
failed to establish the charge of murder against the
accused persons beyond any reasonable doubt.”

31. The pristine rule that the burden of proof is on the
prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused should not
be taken as a fossilised doctrine as though it admits no
process of intelligent reasoning. The doctrine of
presumption is not alien to the above rule, nor would it
impair the temper of the rule. On the other hand, if the
traditional rule relating to burden of proof of the
prosecution is allowed to be wrapped in pedantic
coverage, the offenders in serious offences would be the
major beneficiaries and the society would be the
casualty.

xx xx xx

33. Presumption of fact is an inference as to the
existence of one fact from the existence of some other

54
facts, unless the truth of such inference is disproved.

Presumption of fact is a rule in law of evidence that a
fact otherwise doubtful may be inferred from certain
other proved facts. When inferring the existence of a
fact from other set of proved facts, the court exercises a
process of reasoning and reaches a logical conclusion as
the most probable position. The above principle has
gained legislative recognition in India when Section 114
is incorporated in the Evidence Act. It empowers the
court to presume the existence of any fact which it
thinks likely to have happened. In that process the court
shall have regard to the common course of natural
events, human conduct etc. in relation to the facts of
the case.

34. When it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court
that Mahesh was abducted by the accused and they
took him out of that area, the accused alone knew what
happened to him until he was with them. If he was
found murdered within a short time after the abduction
the permitted reasoning process would enable the Court
to draw the presumption that the accused have
murdered him. Such inference can be disrupted if the
accused would tell the Court what else happened to
Mahesh at least until he was in their custody.”

79. This Court in Sucha Singh held as under:

“19. We pointed out that Section 106 of the Evidence
Act is not intended to relieve the prosecution of its
burden to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt, but the section would apply to cases
where the prosecution has succeeded in proving facts
for which a reasonable inference can be drawn
regarding the existence of certain other facts, unless the
accused by virtue of special knowledge regarding such
facts failed to offer any explanation which might drive
the court to draw a different inference.”

80. This Court in Rajender was examining the applicability of Section

106 of the Evidence Act when the place of the murder of the de-

ceased was a secluded area. The deceased was last been seen

with the accused. The explanation in her statement under Section

313 Cr.P.C. was that she parted company with the deceased, when

55
the deceased got down from her car at the Inter-State Bus Termi-

nus (ISBT). This explanation has been disbelieved by the trial court

and the High Court. This Court held that the time-gap between the

last seen and the time of the death of the deceased is so small so

as to make it impossible for the deceased to come in the contact of

any other person. It was held as under:

“12.2.4. Having observed so, it is crucial to note that the
reasonableness of the explanation offered by the
accused as to how and when he/she parted company
with the deceased has a bearing on the effect of the last
seen in a case. Section 106 of the Evidence Act, 1872
provides that the burden of proof for any fact that is
especially within the knowledge of a person lies upon
such person. Thus, if a person is last seen with the
deceased, he must offer an explanation as to how and
when he parted company with the deceased. In other
words, he must furnish an explanation that appears to
the court to be probable and satisfactory, and if he fails
to offer such an explanation on the basis of facts within
his special knowledge, the burden cast upon him under
Section 106 is not discharged. Particularly in cases
resting on circumstantial evidence, if the accused fails
to offer a reasonable explanation in discharge of the
burden placed on him, such failure by itself can provide
an additional link in the chain of circumstances proved
against him. This, however, does not mean that Section
106
shifts the burden of proof of a criminal trial on the
accused. Such burden always rests on the prosecution.
Section 106 only lays down the rule that when the
accused does not throw any light upon facts which
are specially within his/her knowledge and which cannot
support any theory or hypothesis compatible with his
innocence, the court can consider his failure to adduce
an explanation as an additional link which completes the
chain of incriminating circumstances.”

81. The Judgments referred to by Mr. Chaudhary, Sawal Das v. State

of Bihar28, Reena Hazarika and Gargi v. State of Haryana29,

were to argue that the last seen evidence will not absolve the

28 (1974) 4 SCC 193
29 (2019) 9 SCC 738

56
prosecution from the duty of discharging its general or primary

burden of proving the prosecution case beyond reasonable doubt.

It is only when the prosecution has led evidence which, if believed,

will sustain a conviction, or which makes out a prima facie case,

that the question arises of consideration of facts of which the

burden of proof may lie upon the accused. However, the principles

laid down in the aforesaid judgment are not applicable to the facts

of the present case, when the prosecution has proved the act of

kidnapping and the last seen evidence soon before the

approximate time of death of victim. Therefore, the prosecution

has discharged the onus of proof beyond reasonable doubt. It was

then for the accused to rebut the presumption of any other

intervening fact before the death of the victim. In fact, none of the

prosecution witnesses have been cross- examined on that

possibility at all.

      iv)    Changing version of the prosecution case
82.   The    Judgments of this court reported                 as    Karanpura

Development Co. Ltd. and Sri Venkataramana Devaru have

been relied upon to argue that an argument of fact cannot be

raised for the first time before this Court. The reliance on such

judgments is not tenable. In both the Judgments, no fact sought to

be raised in appeal before this court, was pleaded in civil

proceedings. The reference to such judgments is inappropriate. In

the present appeals, the arguments raised by the prosecution are

on the basis of evidence led and available on record.

v) Recovery of dead body at the instance of A-1 cannot be

57
believed

83. The dead body was recovered on the basis of disclosure statement

of A-1. The body was lying concealed under a bridge constructed

over a Rivulet. The body could not be visible to any person

passing through that road. The photograph (Ex. Art./6) produced

by the prosecution shows that the compartment under the bridge

was more than 6 feet of diameter in which, one person could stand

erect. Since the body was recovered from a concealed area

covered by leaves and sand, it is the A-1 alone who could point out

the concealment of dead body.

84. It is wholly immaterial whether the death was caused before 18:00

hrs. or afterwards as both the accused were seen with the victim

together and the victim was in an inert condition. The injuries and

the placement of the boulder/stone on the face of the victim was to

hide the identity of the victim. As per Dr. Avinash Waghmode

(PW-27), the injuries were perimortem i.e. when the vitals of the

victim were functioning. That part of the statement corroborates

the oral evidence led by the prosecution about the inert condition

of the victim and the fact that he was carried on the shoulder by A-

1 as deposed by Shriram Shankarrao Khadatkar (PW-10) near

Patansaongi Lake. It is matter of conjectures that such injuries

could be caused by one person or two persons as the injuries could

be caused even without any resistance by the victim in view of his

inert condition. In fact, the statement of Dr. Avinash Waghmode

(PW-27) is to the effect that the injuries caused to the victim

58
occurred when the vitals were functioning, but the victim may not

be in position to resist the physical assault on him.

85. The argument that the disclosure statement was not recorded in

the exact language of the accused since the manner of killing is

not recorded in such disclosure statement, is immaterial. In terms

of Section 27 of the Evidence Act, the discovery of facts alone is

admissible evidence when the accused is in police custody. The

manner of killing is inculpatory and, therefore, not admissible in

evidence. In such a case, the mere fact that the disclosure

statement does not record the manner of killing of the victim is

wholly inconsequential. Thus, we do not find any merit in the

argument raised by the learned counsel for A-1.

86. The reliance of Mr. Chaudhary on the Judgment of this court in

Bakhshish Singh v. State of Punjab30 is clearly erroneous. In

the said case, the recovery of dead body was not believed as it

was found to be possible for the accused to know the place where

dead body was thrown in the river as broken teeth and parts of

human body was lying near the place of recovery. In the present

case, the dead body was lying in a concealed place and that there

was no possible explanation on behalf of the accused as to how the

body came to be concealed at that particular place, when the

prosecution evidence proves that the accused were near the place

of recovery of dead body almost at the probable time of death.

vi) The effect of putting of incriminating evidence to the
accused under Section 313 of the Code.

30 (1971) 3 SCC 182

59

87. In Reena Hazarika, a two Judge Bench has taken a view that the

Court is duty bound to consider defense taken by the accused

under Section 313 of the Code. Factually, in this case, A-1 and A-2

have not taken any defense except the statement that they have

been implicated falsely. A-1 has been put as many as 848

questions whereas A-2 has been put as many as 754 questions but

the accused have not taken any other stand except of denial of

material facts. In fact, A-1 admitted to Question No. 54 that all the

staff of Dr. Chandak’s clinic were called in to the police station. Dr.

Chandak received calls of ransom when he was in the police

station. Therefore, the said judgment is of no help to the accused.

An accused, as mentioned earlier, is required to cross-examine the

prosecution witnesses to give him an opportunity to make any

explanation which is open to him. It is a rule of professional

practice in the conduct of a case. However, in the absence of any

cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses, an argument

cannot be built, in the absence of any evidence to that effect.

88. The judgments in Hate Singh Bhagat Singh and Sharad

Birdhichand Sarda are not applicable to the facts of the present

case. Therein, it has been laid down that in a prosecution based

upon a circumstantial evidence, the prosecution is required to rule

out all other probabilities except that the offence was committed

by the accused and no one else. In the present case, there is

overwhelming evidence that shows the victim to be in company of

the accused at five different places from 16:00 hrs. to 17:30 hrs –

60
18.00 hrs. Thereafter, the burden shifts to the accused to explain

the circumstances which occurred thereafter till the time of the

recovery of dead body. There is no evidence to create a doubt on

the prosecution version that somebody else had access to the

victim before he died. The fact that the child was carried on

shoulder by A-1 shows that the child was not in a position to move

and was done to death in that condition which is corroborated by

medical evidence of injuries being perimortem.

Arguments on behalf of A-2

89. Learned counsel for A-2 argued that A-1 had planned to commit a

crime in terms of looting PW-8’s employer for money, but at the

last minute, A-2 was joined in the kidnapping of the victim and he

had no idea about the real motive of A-1 of seeking vengeance

from the complainant and his family. However, such an argument

is wholly untenable as he is the one who picked up the child from

the gate of the Apartment where the family of the child used to

stay and had been seen by a number of persons up to 17:30 hrs. It

is thereafter that a ransom call is proved to have been made by A-

2 on the basis of statement of Mohandas Mitharam Balani (PW-16)

from whose PCO, A-2 made the call. He was an active participant

in the orchestration of the crime with A-1. Still further, the blue T-

shirt worn by the victim was recovered on the basis of disclosure

statement of A-2. Such disclosure statement corroborates that it is

he who had taken off the shirt and thrown it in a rivulet /nullah

which was at a distance of 5 kms. from the place of occurrence.

90. An argument was raised that the child was kidnapped for ransom

61
but there was no intention to take life of the child, therefore, an

offence under Section 364A is not made out. To appreciate the

arguments, Section 364A of the IPC is reproduced as under:

“364A. Kidnapping for ransom, etc.—Whoever kidnaps
or abducts any person or keeps a person in detention
after such kidnapping or abduction and threatens to
cause death or hurt to such person, or by his conduct
gives rise to a reasonable apprehension that such
person may be put to death or hurt, or causes hurt or
death to such person in order to compel the
Government or any foreign State or international inter-
governmental organisation or any other person to do or
abstain from doing any act or to pay a ransom, shall be
punishable with death, or imprisonment for life, and
shall also be liable to fine.”

91. Section 364A IPC has three ingredients relevant to the present

appeals, one, the fact of kidnapping or abduction, second,

threatening to cause death or hurt, and last, the conduct giving

rise to reasonable apprehension that such person may be put to

death or hurt.

92. The kidnapping of an 8-year-old child was unequivocally for

ransom. The kidnapping of a victim of such a tender age for

ransom has inherent threat to cause death as that alone will force

the relatives of such victim to pay ransom. Since the act of

kidnapping of a child for ransom has inherent threat to cause

death, therefore, the accused have been rightly been convicted for

an offence under Section 364A read with Section 34 IPC. The threat

will remain a mere threat, if the victim returns unhurt. In the

present case, the victim has been done to death. The threat had

become a reality. There is no reason to take different view that the

62
view taken by learned Sessions Judge as well by the High Court.

Sentence

93. We have heard learned counsel for the parties on the question of

sentence. Mr. Chaudhary argued that this Court has imposed a

higher standard of proof for the purposes of a death sentence over

and above “beyond reasonable doubt” necessary for criminal

conviction similar to “residual doubt”. He referred to a judgment of

this court in Ashok Debbarma v. State of Tripura31 wherein it

was held as under:

“31. … In our criminal justice system, for recording guilt
of the accused, it is not necessary that the prosecution
should prove the case with absolute or mathematical
certainty, but only beyond reasonable doubt. Criminal
courts, while examining whether any doubt is beyond
reasonable doubt, may carry in their mind, some
“residual doubt”, even though the courts are convinced
of the accused persons’ guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”

94. This Court following the principle of residual doubt in a judgment

reported as Ravishankar v. State of Madhya Pradesh32, held

that “another nascent evolution in the theory of death sentencing

can be distilled. This Court has increasingly become cognizant of

“residual doubt” in many recent cases which effectively create a

higher standard of proof over and above the “beyond reasonable

doubt” standard used at the stage of conviction, as a safeguard

against routine capital sentencing, keeping in mind the irre-

versibility of death”.

31 (2014) 4 SCC 747
32 (2019) 9 SCC 689

63

95. Mr. Rohatgi, learned Senior Counsel representing the State submit-

ted that apart from aggravating circumstances considered by the

learned Sessions Judge and the High Court, there is an additional

fact brought on record of this appeal by an affidavit of Senior Po-

lice Inspector, Police Station Lakadganj, Nagpur City that the A-1 is

in fact an accused in FIR No. 3 of 2015 for the offences under Sec-

tions 457, 380, 109, 120-B and 34 of IPC. A supplementary charge

sheet has been filed against A-1 on 30 th July, 2019. The allegations

are that two accused who committed house burglary were to-

gether with A-1 in the cell of Police Station Sadar Nagpur. It is A-1

who gave a tip to the other accused that there remains huge cash

in the Dental Clinic of the PW-1. The accused, after they were

released on bail, breached into the clinic of PW-1. Stolen goods

such as cash, mobiles, camera and an ipad were recovered from

the other accused. Therefore, it was argued that the accused has

not left his activities even after the present case.

96. We do not wish to take into consideration the subsequent charge

sheet filed against A-1 to avoid any prejudice in a trial which may

proceed on the basis of charge sheet already filed against ac-

cused. We find that the accused have taken the life of a young

school going boy of only 8 years of age to become rich by ransom

and to take vengeance against Dr. Chandak. The argument is that

since the accused are young, aged about 19 years, and have no

criminal antecedents, the sentence of death imposed upon them

is not warranted. It is argued that A-1 surrendered at the first

64
available opportunity and he was fully cooperative with the inves-

tigation, therefore, there are the mitigating circumstances to ab-

solve them from noose. We do not find any merit in the argument

that being young or having no criminal antecedents are mitigating

circumstances. What is required to be examined is whether there

is a possibility of rehabilitation and whether it is the rarest of the

rare case where the collective conscience of the community is so

shocked that it will expect the holders of judicial power to inflict

death penalty irrespective of their personal opinion as regards de-

sirability or otherwise of retaining death penalty. The manner of

commission of murder when committed in an extremely brutal,

grotesque, diabolical, revolting or dastardly manner are aggravat-

ing factors.

97. The circumstances which are required to be taken into considera-

tion are by now well settled. We would not like to repeat such cir-

cumstances again. This court in Machhi Singh & Ors. v. State

of Punjab33 held that as part of the “rarest of rare” test, the court

should address itself as to whether:

“(i) there is something uncommon about the crime
which renders sentence of imprisonment for life
inadequate and calls for a death sentence;

(ii) the circumstances are such that there is no
alternative but to impose death sentence even after
according maximum weightage to the mitigating
circumstances which speak in favour of the offender.”

98. Further, this Court ruled that: (SCC p. 489, para 38)

“(i) The extreme penalty of death need not be inflicted

33 (1983) 3 SCC 470

65
except in gravest cases of extreme culpability.

(ii) Before opting for the death penalty the
circumstances of the “offender” also require to be taken
into consideration along with the circumstances of the
“crime”.

(iii) Life imprisonment is the rule and death sentence is
an exception. In other words death sentence must be
imposed only when life imprisonment appears to be an
altogether inadequate punishment having regard to the
relevant circumstances of the crime, and provided, and
only provided, the option to impose sentence of
imprisonment for life cannot be conscientiously
exercised having regard to the nature and
circumstances of the crime and all the relevant
circumstances.

(iv) A balance sheet of aggravating and mitigating
circumstances has to be drawn up and in doing so the
mitigating circumstances have to be accorded full
weightage and a just balance has to be struck between
the aggravating and the mitigating circumstances
before the option is exercised.”

99. Later this Court in Swamy Shraddananda (2) v. State of

Karnataka34, held that in, the interest of justice, the court could

commute the death sentence imposed on the convict and

substitute it with life imprisonment with a direction that the convict

would not be released from prison for the rest of his life. This view

stands approved by a Constitution Bench of this Court in Union of

India v. V. Sriharan & Ors.35 holding that the power to impose a

modified punishment providing for any specific term of

incarceration or till the end of the convict’s life as an alternate to

death penalty, can be exercised only by the High Court and the

34 (2008) 13 SCC 767
35 (2016) 7 SCC 1

66
Supreme Court and not by any other inferior court. This Court held

as under:

“105. We, therefore, reiterate that the power derived
from the Penal Code for any modified punishment within
the punishment provided for in the Penal Code for such
specified offences can only be exercised by the High
Court and in the event of further appeal only by the
Supreme Court and not by any other court in this
country. To put it differently, the power to impose a
modified punishment providing for any specific term of
incarceration or till the end of the convict’s life as an
alternate to death penalty, can be exercised only by the
High Court and the Supreme Court and not by any other
inferior court.

106. Viewed in that respect, we state that the ratio laid
down in Swamy Shraddananda (2) [Swamy
Shraddananda (2) v. State of Karnataka, (2008) 13 SCC
767 : (2009) 3 SCC (Cri) 113] that a special category of
sentence; instead of death; for a term exceeding 14
years and put that category beyond application of
remission is well founded and we answer the said
question in the affirmative. We are, therefore, not in
agreement with the opinion expressed by this Court
in Sangeet v. State of Haryana [Sangeet v. State of
Haryana, (2013) 2 SCC 452 : (2013) 2 SCC (Cri) 611]
that the deprival of remission power of the appropriate
Government by awarding sentences of 20 or 25 years or
without any remission as not permissible is not in
consonance with the law and we specifically overrule
the same.”

100. The motive of the accused to take life was to become rich by not

doing hard work but by demanding ransom after kidnapping a

young, innocent boy of 8 years. Thus, having considered all the

circumstances and facts on record, we are of the considered view

that the present case falls short of the “rarest of rare” cases where

a death sentence alone deserves to be awarded to the appellants.

It appears to us in light of all cumulative circumstances that the

67
cause of justice will be effectively served by invoking the concept

of special sentencing as evolved by this Court in the cases of

Swamy Shraddananda and Sriharan. Thus, the present appeals

succeed in part. The Judgment and Order passed by the learned

Trial Court and confirmed by the High Court convicting the accused

for the offences punishable under Sections 302 and 364A read with

Section 34 IPC is hereby confirmed. However, the death sentence

imposed by the learned Trial Court, confirmed by the High Court, is

converted into the life imprisonment. It is further observed and di-

rected that the life means till the end of the life with the further ob-

servation and direction that there shall not be any remission till the

accused completes 25 years of imprisonment.

101. The appeals stand dismissed except modification in respect of sen-

tence.

………………………………………J.

(UDAY UMESH LALIT)

………………………………………J.

(INDU MALHOTRA)

………………………………………J.

(HEMANT GUPTA)

NEW DELHI;

APRIL 24, 2020.

68



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