Venkataswamy & Ors Vs. The Public Prosecutor, High Court of Andhra Pradesh
 INSC 812 (8
S.B. (J) Majmudar S.B. (J) Mukherjee M.K. (J) S.B. Majmudar, J.
1996 SCC (7) 232 JT 1995 (9) 33 1995 SCALE (7)147
is an appeal under Section 379, Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. P.C.) read with
Section 2 of the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction)
Act, 1970. It is directed against the judgment and order of the High Court of
Judicature, Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad by which the High Court reversed the
acquittal of the appellants and convicted them of diverse offences under
Section 302 read with Section 149, Indian Penal Code (I.P.C.), Section 307,
I.P.C. and also under Section 3 to 5 of the Explosive Substances Act and
sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment and other sentences as detailed in
the judgment under appeal. The appeal against acquittal of original accused
no.10 has been dismissed by the High Court and so far as his acquittal is
concerned it is no longer in challenge before us. In this appeal, we are
concerned with the conviction and sentence of appellants 1 to 9 who were
original accused nos.1 to 9 respectively before the Trial Court. We shall refer
to the appellants as accused nos. 1 to 9 in this judgment for the sake of
Facts A few relevant facts leading to this appeal are required to be noted at
the outset to appreciate the grievance voiced on behalf of these nine accused
by their learned counsel. The prosecution case against them ran as follows :
A-9 and most of the material prosecution witnesses P.Ws. 1, 7, to 9 and father
of P.W.1 K. Ramalinga Reddy (who was subsequently murdered on 15.5.1989) are
all residents of Boilkuntla village. P.Ws 2 and 3 belonged to Chennur. P.Ws 5
and 6 belonged to R. Pampalli and Revenur villages respectively. A-10 belonged
to Yerragaddenna village.
are factions consisting of the sons of Bali Reddy one one side and Gangula Pratap
Reddy who was by then a sitting M.L.A.. from Allagadda constituency, on the
other side. P.Ws 1 to 9 and father of P.Ws. 1 to 7 - K. Ramalinga Reddy - are
the followers of sons of Bali Reddy while A-1 to A-9 are the followers of Gangula
Pratap Reddy. Due to the ill feelings between the two camps, at about 5.30 p.m. on 18.9.1985 A.1 to A.9 and others made an attempt
to kill Ramalinga Reddy having formed themselves into an unlawful assembly, by
hurling country-made bombs at him and his followers at the outskirts of Boilakunta
village in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. On the basis of the said
incident, Crime No. 75/85 of Sirvel Police Station was registered and A-1 to
A-9 were waiting for an opportunity to do away with the lives of K. Ramalinga
Reddy and his followers.
On May 30, 1987 at about 4 p.m. all the accused met near Basapuram road crossing and
entered into a criminal conspiracy to do away with the life of Ramalinga Reddy.
to the above conspiracy, on 1.6.1987 at about 9 a.m. A-1 to A-9 hid themselves behind the trees existing on
either side of Nandyal Mahanandi road which is also known as Gajulapalli Mahanandi Road.
On June 1, 1987 at about 8 a.m. P.Ws 1 to 9 Ramalinga
Reddy, Damodara Reddy (in brief Deceased No.1) and K.V. Rajsekhar Reddy (in
brief deceased No.2) left together by Mahindra Jeep bearing No.ASF 790 from
their village Boilkuntla to Mahanandi to attend the marriage of one G. Mahanandi
Reddy. The said 12 persons came to Mahanandi cross roads, halted for about an
hour near the residential school belonging to Ramalinga Reddy and at about 9 a.m. left in the said jeep to Mahanandi.
time the jeep reached Baggi road, A-1 to A-4 who were hiding themselves by the
side of the trees situated on the eastern side of the road came out being armed
with bombs. When the jeep slowed down to negotiate the turning at the Baggi
road, A-1 to A-4 hurled bombs at the jeep.
A-5 to A-9 who were hiding on the western side came out and hurled bombs. In
the front seat Ramalinga Reddy and P.Ws 1 to 3 were sitting while Ramalinga
Reddy was sitting on extreme left, P.W.1 was driving the jeep sitting on the
extreme right, P.W.2 was sitting to the left of P.W.1 while P.W.3 sat in
between P.W.2 and Ramalinga Reddy.
1 and 2 and P.Ws * and 9 were sitting on the rear side of the jeep immediately
behind P.Ws 1 to 3 and Ramalinga Reddy. Deceased 1, 2 and P.Ws 8 and 9
immediately jumped out of the jeep at the Baggi road turning in view of the
bomb attack on the jeep, while P.Ws 1 to 7 and Ramalinga Reddy proceeded straight
to Mahanandi Police Station where Ramalinga Reddy lodged Ex. P.1 report with
P.W.17 Inspector of Police, Nandyal at about 11.30 a.m. on the same day, P.W.17
registered Ex.P.1 as Crime No.16/87 under Secs. 147, 148, 324, 307, 302 read
with 149 I.P.C. and under Secs. 3 and 5 of Explosive Substances Act. Ex. P.17
is the copy of the First Information Report.
On June 1, 1987 at about 10 a.m. while at Taluk Police Station, Nandyal P.W.17 received
information regarding the occurrence relating to this case through VHF set from
S.H.O. Mahanandi Mandal Police Station. As such P.W.17 collected his staff,
including Sub-Inspector of Police, Nandyal taluk police station and reached the
scene of offence at 10.30 a.m. P.W.17 found the deceased 1 and 2 lying dead at baggi
road turning on nandyal Mahanandi road and two police constables were guarding
the dead bodies. P.W.17 was informed that they were deputed by Station House
to keep watch over the dead bodies of the deceased 1 and 2. As such P.W.17 proceeded
to Police Station, Mahanandi, received Ex. P.1 from Ramalinga Reddy and after
First Information Report was registered, he took up further investigation in
examined P.Ws 1 to 7 and Ramalinga Reddy and recorded their statements under
Sec. 161 Cr. P.C. P.W.17 sent P.Ws. 1 to 7 and Ramalinga Reddy for treatment to
Government Hospital along with escort. P.W.15 Civil Assistant Surgeon,
Government Hospital, Nandyal having examined P.Ws 1 to 3, 6, 7 and Ramalinga
Reddy issued Exs.P.13, P.15, P.11, P.14, P.12 and P.10 respectively having
opined that the said injuries would have been caused by splinters of exploded
P.W.17 reached the scene of offence. then it was about 1.45 p.m. on June 1, 1987.
He found Ramalinga Reddy standing nearby the corpses of D-1 and D-2. He also
found P.Ws.8 and 9 and others. P.W.17 held inquest over the dead body of D-1
between 2 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. Ex.P.5 is the inquest report. P.W.17 examined P.Ws 8 and 9
and read over the recorded statements of the other witnesses examined at the
inquest. P.W.11 and another acted as inquest panchas.
seized M.Os 14 to 16 and M.O.20 from the corpse of D- 1. He also seized M.Os.21
to 26 near the corpse of D-1 in the presence of P.W.11 etc., inquestdars.
held inquest over the dead body of D-2 between 3.30 P.M. and 4.30
p.m. and seized M.Os
17 to 19 from the corpse of the deceased while seizing M.Os 27 and 28 near the
corpse of the deceased in the presence of P.W.11 etc., inquest panchas. Ex. P.6
is the inquest report. Later both the corpses were sent through P.W.12 police
constable for autopsy.
the scene of offence P.W.17 reached P.S. Mahanandi at about 6 p.m. and noticed the jeep bearing No. ADF 790. He found some
burnt holes on the rexine cover of the jeep. He also found top rods of the jeep
frame mutilated and the frame of the seat on the back side of the driver bore
signs of bomb explosion against it. These facts were noted in Ex.P.19 panchanama.
He also seized the partly burnt rexine M.O.29. Later P.W.17 proceeded to Government Hospital, Nandyal and reached the same at about 9 p.m. P.W.17 seized blood-stained clothes on the persons of
P.Ws.1 to 7 and Ramalinga Reddy under the cover of Ex.P.20 panchnama in the
presence of panchayatdars.
was then working as Civil Assistant Surgeon, Government Hospital, Nandyal. He conducted autopsy over
the dead body of D-1 from 5 p.m. onwards
on 1.6.1987 and issued Ex.P.7 post-mortem certificate having opined that the
deceased died due to haemorrhage and shock and injury to vital organs, namely
lungs, spleen and liver. P.W.14 was also working as Civil Assistant Surgeon
attached to Government Hospital, Nandyal. He conducted autopsy over the dead body of D-2
from 5 p.m. onwards on the same day and issued
Ex. P.8 post-mortem certificate having opined that the second deceased died due
to shock due to the injuries on the vital organ namely brain.
completion of investigation chargesheet was submitted before the Court of
Additional Judicial I Class Magistrate, Nandyal, against all the accused
including accused no. 10 whose acquittal is no longer in controversy as noted
above. The learned Magistrate committed the accused to stand their trial before
the Sessions Court at Kurnool.
learned Sessions Judge recorded oral and documentary evidence offered by the
prosecution. 17 witnesses were examined on behalf of the prosecution and 20
documents were exhibited. The accused did not lead any evidence in defence.
Sessions Judge came to the conclusion that the prosecution had failed to bring
home the offences with which the accused were charged and acquitted them. That
resulted in appeal by the State against acquittal before the High Court.
High Court reached the conclusion after hearing both the sides that the learned
Trial Judge had palpably erred in acquitting the accused and his decision had
resulted in grave failure of justice. The High Court, therefore, interfered
with the findings reached by the Trial Court and on re-appreciation of evidence
came to the conclusion that the prosecution had brought home the offences with
which the accused were charged. the order of acquittal of the nine accused was
set aside. All these accused were held quality of the offences under Section
148 I.P.C. Each of them was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a
period of one year.
nos.2 and 3 were convicted of offences under Section 302 read with Section 34
I.P.C. for causing the death of the first deceased and each of them was
sentenced to undergo imprisonment of life.
nos. 1, 4 and 6 to 9 were held quality of offences punishable under Section 302
read with Section 149 I.P.C. for causing the death of the first deceased and
each of them was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life.
no. 5 was held quality of the offence under Section 302 I.P.C. for causing
death of the second deceased and was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for
nos. 1 to 4 and 6 to 9 were held quality of offences under Section 302 read
with Section 149 I.P.C. for causing death of the 2nd deceased and each of them
was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life.
nos. 1 and 9 were held quality of the offences under Section 307 I.P.C. for
attempting to cause death of P.Ws. 1 to 9 and late Ramalinga Reddy and each of
them was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of three
nos. 1 to 9 were held quality and liable for punishment under Section 3 and 5
of the Explosive Substances Act and were sentenced to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for a period of one year each under each of the two provisions of
the said Act.
noted above, the aforesaid order of conviction and sentence as passed by the
High Court against these accused has resulted in the present appellate
this is a statutory appeal we have gone through the relevant evidence on record
both oral and documentary and we have heard learned senior counsel for
appellants, Shri Lalit, extensively and have also heard learned counsel for the
respondent who supported the judgment of the High Court.
we refer to the relevant evidence on record to which our attention was invited
by learned counsel for both the sides it would be appropriate to note the main
contentions canvassed by learned senior counsel Shri lalit in support of the
appeal and the submissions of learned counsel for the respondent opposing the
Contentions Shri Lalit submitted that the judgment and order of acquittal as
rendered by the learned Trial Judge had reflected a reasonable view of evidence
as taken by the Trial Court and the High Court in appeal against acquittal had
patently erred in law in interfering with the said reasonable view of the
learned Sessions Judge. The High Court ought to have dismissed the appeal of
next contended that the High Court itself has noted in the impugned judgment
conviction of some of the accused under Section 302 and the conviction of rest
of the accused under Section 302 read with 149 rested on the evidence of
prosecution witnesses nos.8 and 9. Shri Lalit submitted that their evidence was
rightly rejected by the Trial Court as it suffered from various infirmities
which were sought to be demonstrated by Shri Lalit in support of his
contention. He submitted that if this evidence is ruled out as done by the
Trial Court the accused cannot be held quality of any office under Section 302
read with Section 149 I.P.C. He also submitted that the eye-witness account of
the injured prosecution witnesses 1 to 7 was also highly artificial and was too
exact to be believed and it showed that they were tutored witnesses who were
made to depose to a given well thought-out version. In this connection, it was
submitted that there was deep-seated enmity between the factions represented by
the appellants on the one hand and the victim party on the other and that the
prosecution has falsely tried to rope in all the accused and to make out a
false case against them only at the instance of deceased complainant Shri Ramalinga
Reddy who died prior to the trial. That accused no. 1 who is and old man of 72
years was sought to be falsely roped in by the deceased complainant, along with
his sons and nephews only with a view to take revenge on him as he represented
a rival political party and was inimical to him. Consequently, neither any case
under Section 302 read with Section 149 I.P.C. nor any case under Section 307
read with Section 149 I.P.C. was made out against the accused and they were
rightly acquitted by the learned trial Judge. Shri Lalit, however, fairly
stated that he could not submit with any emphasis that P.Ws. 1 to 9 did not
receive bomb injuries on the date of the incident when they were travelling in
their jeep but the prosecution has failed to establish beyond reasonable doubts
that the said injuries were caused by the accused. It was also contended by Shri
Lalit that the investigation in the present case was not fair and effort
appears to have been made by the investigation to try to make out a false case
against the accused only at the instance of deceased complainant Ramalinga
Reddy. That it was a faulty and a biased investigation.
counsel for the respondent on the other hand, submitted that the High Court was
justified in interfering in appeal against acquittal as the learned trial Judge
had taken an unreasonable and perverse view of the evidence on record, that
when seven injured eye-witnesses who were travelling in the jeep were found to
have suffered injuries by bombs as the medical evidence clinchingly establish,
and when two deceased in the course of the same incident were found to have
died on account of injuries by bombs and when the Panchnama of the jeep car in
which the prosecution witnesses were travelling showed substantial damage to
the jeep car by bombs, the Trial Court on such evidence could not have given a
clean chit to all the accused, Even the evidence of P.Ws.8 and 9 was discarded
by the Trial Court on flimsy and unreasonable grounds and consequently the
order of acquittal was clearly lopsided and contrary to the weight of evidence
and was bordering on perversity, Hence the High Court was perfectly justified
in interfering with the said order of acquittal. He further submitted that the
evidence on record has been rightly appreciated by the High Court and it
clearly established the prosecution case beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt
against all the present accused. He also submitted that the so-called
infirmities pointed out by Shri Lalit, learned senior counsel for the accused, in
the prosecution evidence are in fact no substantial infirmities at all.
for determination In the light of the aforesaid rival contentions the following
points arise for our determination :
Whether the High Court, on the facts of the present case, was justified in
interfering in appeal against acquittal and in re-appreciating the evidence on
Whether the evidence of P.Ws 8 and 9 was required to be accepted as held by the
Whether the evidence of injured eye-witnesses 1 to 7 was rightly accepted by
the High Court.
Whether the investigation in the present case was lopsided, biased and unfair
Whether the conviction and sentence as imposed by the High Court on the accused
stand justified in the light of the evidence on record.
shall deal with the aforesaid points seriatim.
No.1 It is now well settled by a catena of decisions of this Court that in an
appeal against acquittal the appellate court can interfere with the findings of
fact recorded by the Trial Court and can upset the acquittal by re-
appreciating evidence if it is found that the view taken by the acquitting
court was not a possible view on the evidence on record. In this connection, we
may refer to the decision of this Court in the case of State of Punjab v. Ajaib Singh [(1995) 2 SCC 486]
R.M. Sahai, J. speaking for this Court made the following pertinent
observations in this connection in para 7 of the Report :
We agree that this Court is not precluded or the court hearing the appeal
against acquittal is not prevented from examining and reappreciating the
evidence on record.
the duty of a court hearing the appeal against acquittal in the first instance
is to satisfy itself if the view taken by acquitting court ... ...
... ... ... ... was possible view or not. And if the court comes to conclusion
that it was not, it can on reappreciation of evidence reverse the order.
..." It was also observed in the said decision that the appellate court
would not be entitled to interfere unless the view of the acquitting court is
found to be perverse or infirm or palpably erroneous. We have, therefore, to
see whether on the facts of the present case the Trial Court was justified in
acquitting the present accused of the offences with which they were charged by
brushing aside the eye-witness account of injured P.Ws. 1 and 4 to 7. In this
connection, it is necessary to note that it is the prosecution case that all
these injured eye-witnesses were travelling in the jeep car which became the
target of the bomb attack at the hands of the present accused 1 to 9. We have
gone through the relevant evidence in this connection consisting of the eye-
witness account of P.W.1 Srikantha Reddy, P.W.4 Rajeshwar Reddy, P.W.5 Kappuram
Subba Reddy, P.W.6 B. Narayana Reddy and P.W.7 K. Lakshmi Reddy. We may keep
aside the evidence of P.W.2 Pedda Kullai Reddy and P.W.3 K.N. Subba Reddy as
they were declared hostile to prosecution. But even apart from their evidence
the evidence of the aforesaid other P.Ws 1 and 4 to 7 clearly supported the
prosecution case and what emerged from their ocular account projected the
following picture :
June 1987 at about 8 a.m. on the jeep ADF-790 belonging to deceased complainant
Ramalinga Reddy, these witnesses along with deceased 1 and 2 and prosecution
witnesses 8 and 9 left their village in order to attend the marriage of one of
the relatives of deceased complainant Ramalinga Reddy. Marriage was scheduled
to be performed at Mahanandi. On their way they stopped at the residential
school and stayed for about one hour in the course of which Ramalinga Reddy had
a talk with the Principal of the school and the clerk N. Narayana (P.W.10).
After their conversation was over, Ramalinga Reddy and his partymen resumed
their journey and they were proceeding towards Mahanandi along the Nandyal Mahanandi
road, which is also known as Gajulapalle- Mahanandi road, at that sector in
which the incident took place. When the jeep reached near the Basapuram baggi
road burning, where the road take a deep curve, around 9.15 a.m.
of the inmates of the jeep including P.W.1 Srikantha Reddy who was driving the
jeep noticed A-1 to A-4 emerging from behind the bushes existing by the side of
the Basapuram Baggi road, which lies to the east of the Nandyal mahanandi road,
carrying bombs in their hands. As they travelled by the jeep driven by P.W.1. on
the front seat of the jeep, by the side of P.W.1 P.W.2 Pedda Kullai Reddy and
by his side P.W.3 K.N. Subba Reddy and at the extreme left of that seat the
late Ramalinga Reddy were sitting. In the rear side of the jeep and on the four
seater which lies in perpendicular to the driver's seat, P.W.8, P.W.9 (Chakali Ranganna
and Chakali Venkteswarlu) and deceased 1 and 2 were sitting and on the four seater
which lies in perpendicular to the front seat and immediately behind the seat
occupied by Ramalinga Reddy P.W.5 Subba Reddy, P.W.6 Narayana Reddy, P.W.7 Lakshmi
Reddy and P.W.4 Rajeshwar Reddy were witting in that order.
emerging from behind the bushes in the above said manner and coming towards the
road turning. A-1 and A-4 hurled a bomb each in the direction of the jeep and
those bombs fell on the right side of the jeep and exploded.
A-2 hurled another bomb. which hit the right side frame of the backrest of the
driver's seat and exploded and due to the explosion of that bomb a portion of
P.W.1's shirt and the right side of his back got burnt. He also sustained
injuries on his back having been hit by some of the splinters of that bomb.
Thereafter A-3 hurled another bomb which fell on the tarpaulin top of the Jeep on
its right side burning a portion of the tarpaulin. Though P.W.17 and some other
prosecution witnesses have stated that the jeep had rexine cover for its top as
well as for its sides, some of the witnesses including P.W.1 referred to the
top cover of the Jeep tarpaulin instead of as rexine. Even in the chargesheet
the word `Tarpaulin' was used instead of rexine.
the explosion of four bombs by A-1 to A-4 and even after their explosion P.W.1
continued to drive the jeep towards Mahanandi and after it covered a distance
of 20 to 30 yards from the road bend, he observed that some of the inmates of
the jeep jumped down from it near the road turning. P.W.1 subsequently learnt
through the other travellers of the jeep that the four people who had jumped
down from the jeep were his brother-in-law Rajsekhara Reddy (D-2), his junior
paternal uncle Damodar Reddy (D-1) and P.Ws 8 and 9 Chakali Ranganna and Chakali
Venkateswarlu. In spite of these four persons jumping down from the jeep it
continued to be driven towards Mahanandi and after it covered a distance of
about one k.m. from the road bend and at the instance of Ramalinga Reddy, P.W.1
stopped the jeep as they wanted to await for the return of the four persons for
some time. When these four persons did not turn up and apprehending that there
might be another attack of the accused against the other inmates of the jeep
had they remained at that place for long they resumed their journey and reached
Mahanandi at 9.45 a.m.
the jeep went into Mahanandi and after it was stopped by the side of Koneru,
some of the people of Mahanandi surrounded the jeep and enquired from its
inmates as to what had happened. In about 10 minutes thereafter they learnt
that D-1 and D-2 had been killed due to bomb-blast injuries and that their dead
bodies were lying on the road near the Baggi road turning. The late Ramalinga
Reddy thereupon went to the police station of Mahanandi Mandal for giving a
report while the other inmates of the jeep, who could reach Mahanandi safely,
waited outside the police station.
aforesaid eye-witness account put forward consistently by all the injured
prosecution witnesses P.W.1 and 4 to 7 could not be shown to be involving any inconsistency inter se as fairly
stated by Shri Lalit, learned senior counsel for the accused. He, on the
contrary, stated that the version was so parallel and accurate that it appeared
to be too good to be true and, therefore, according to him it could be dubbed
as unnatural. However, he had to concede that version of all these prosecution
witnesses did establish that they were subjected to attacks by bombs on the
date of the incident. Not only that but we find from medical evidence that all
these prosecution witnesses who were travelling in the jeep and had suffered
from bomb injuries were medically examined shortly after the incident and it
was clearly established from the medical evidence that each of them had
suffered number of injuries from bomb blast. Evidence of Dr. A. Anjswyulu is
eloquent on the point. He examined the complainant K. Ramalinga Reddy, since
deceased, and found the following injuries on his person :
lacerated injury of the size 2 cm x 2 cm x 1 cm present on the pinns of the
left ear, edges are black.
lacerated injury of the size 1/2 inch x 1/12 inch x 1/4 inch present on the
left shoulder, edges are black.
abrasion of the size 1/2 inch x 1/4 inch present on the left side of the back,
edges are black.
Multiple abrasions present on the left side of the back edges are black.
Abrasions are surrounded by blackened areas.
abrasion of the size 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch present on the left side of the chest.
Edges are black. All the above injuries were simple in nature and aged more
than six hours prior to the examination. Ex. P/10 is the wound certificate
issued by the witness to Shri K. Ramalinga Reddy.
leave aside the injuries suffered by P.Ws 2 and 3 who had turned hostile to the
prosecution though the doctor found that even they had suffered multiple
injuries by bomb blast in the same incident. Doctor found the following
injuries on P.W.7 K. Lakshmi Reddy :
lacerated injury of the size 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch present on the
occipital region-edges are black.
lacerated injury of the size 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch present on the
right side of the back above the shoulder blade. Edges are black.
Multiple abrasions present on the left side of the back and right side of the
back. Edges are black.
Multiple abrasions present on the outer aspect of the left upper arm. Edges are
Lacerated injury of the size 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch present on the left
fore-arm - Edges are black.
also found the following injuries on P.W.1 K. Srikantha Reddy :
Multiple abrasions present on the right side of the back - edges are black,
surrounded by blackened areas. Stone piece was recovered from the wound and
preserved for Expert's opinion.
lacerated injury of the size 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch present on the
right side of the back, edges are black.
abrasions present on the left side of the back.
are black and surrounded by blackened areas.
Abrasion of the size 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch present on the left partietal region -
edges are black.
found on P.W.6 Narayana Reddy were as under:
lacerated injury of the size 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch present on the left
cheek, edges are black.
abrasion of the size 1-1/2 inch x 1 inch present on the back of the right elbow
joint surrounded by blackened areas.
as P.W.4 Rajeshwar Reddy is concerned, he stated in his deposition that he
received injuries on both of his legs when some of the pellets (splinters) of
exploded bombs hit him. All the people who had travelled by jeep received
injuries having received splinters of the exploded bombs.
Circle Inspector examined him and sent him and 8 other injured persons to the
Government Hospital of Nandyal. While he was in the hospital the Circle
Inspector of Police seized his blood stained full pancha and blood stained
shirt. He identified the blood-stained tarricotton shirt and the blood stained banian
M.Os. 6 and 7. This version of his could not at all be shaken in the cross
examination. Same was the position with P.W.5 Kappuram Subba Reddy who had
stated that he received bleeding injuries when some of the discharged splinters
hit him on fore hand. He and other injured were sent to Government Hospital, Nandyal by the Circle Inspector of Police. While he was in
the hospital the C.I. of Police seized his blood stained full shirt M.Os., his
blood stained banian M.O.9 and his blood-stained glasoo full pancha M.O.10.
version also could not be effectively challenged at all in cross examination.
The Circle Inspector P.W.17 also fully supported this version about the receipt
of injuries by bomb blast by these eye-witnesses who were travelling in the
jeep at the relevant time. It is pertinent to note that injuries as found by
the doctor on Ramalinga Reddy were on left side of his body while injuries on
P.W.1 were on his right side. This fully corroborated the eye- witness account
of P.W.1 and other witnesses that P.W.1 driver was sitting on extreme right on
front seat of the jeep while Ramalinga Reddy was sitting on extreme left on the
front seat of the jeep. Despite this clinching evidence on record the learned
Trial Judge by curious reasoning did not believe these injured witnesses by
taking the view that as it was not positively established on the record that
there was marriage of Gopanaram Mahendra Reddy scheduled on that day at Mahanandi
the evidence of P.Ws.1 to 9 had to be viewed with caution and could not readily
be accepted on the basis of mere circumstance that the majority of these
witnesses received injuries attributed to the splinters of exploded bombs. The
second reason given by the learned Sessions Judge was that in the First
Information Report lodged by deceased complainant Ramalinga Reddy it was stated
that after the bomb attack on the jeep eight occupants of the jeep who were
sitting on the back side had jumped out while the eye-witness account of the
witnesses was to the effect that only four had jumped out, namely, deceased 1
and 2 and P.Ws.8 and 9. Thus the learned Trial Judge tried to contradict the
eye-witness account of injured witnesses with the statement in the First
Information report given by the deceased complainant who could not be examined
during the trial as he had already died. It is difficult to appreciate how
eye-witness account of these witnesses could be contradicted by the version
found in the First Information Report lodged by the complainant who was not
available for supporting the said version at the stage of trial. The another
reason which weighed with the learned Trial Judge for disbelieving eyewitness
account of these injured eye witnesses was on the basis that it conflicted with
the description of the scene of offence and the physical and salient features
regarding the same which were found from Ex.16 original rough sketch drawn by
P.W.17. That the sketch showed that there were only four bomb marks, of which
two were found at the spot before the jeep reached the Basapuram Baggi road
turn. Another reason given by the learned Trial Judge was to the effect that
there was absence of splinters of exploded bombs such as iron filings or glass
pieces or thread pieces containing yellowish stains inside the body of the jeep
when P.W.17 examined the jeep at about 6 p.m. on 1.6.87 as detailed in Ex.P.19. This also made it doubtful as to
whether any of the injured persons amongst P.Ws 1 to 7 and Ramalinga Reddy received
injuries while they were actually travelling by the jeep as claimed by them. It
is difficult to appreciate how the aforesaid evidence could at all be pressed
in service for disbelieving the eye-witness account of injured eye-witnesses
who had received bomb injuries and whose version was fully supported by medical
evidence and other relevant evidence. It must, therefore, be held that the
learned Trial Judge had disbelieved this eye- witness account of injured
eye-witnesses in a most perfunctory and callous manner and the finding reached
by the Trial Court, therefore, could certainly be dubbed as totally perverse
and unreasonable and an impossible one.
the damage to the jeep car was sufficient or not or whether the bomb marks on
the scene of offence were 4 or more would be totally irrelevant for judging the
veracity of the version of injured eye-witnesses who had admittedly suffered
injuries from bomb blast while travelling in the jeep which itself was shown by
the Panchnama Ex.P.19 to have been the target of bomb attack. And there were
sufficient indications in Ex. P.19 itself to show that the bombs had landed in
the jeep car and which would naturally result in splinter injuries to its
occupants. It was too much to conjecture and presume that the witnesses who
were passengers in the jeep car who had suffered from bomb attack injuries
would not be travelling in the said jeep car at the relevant time.
these circumstances, therefore, the High Court was perfectly justified in
re-appreciating the evidence on record with a view to finding out as to whether
the prosecution on the basis of evidence on record had proved its case to the
hilt against appellant accused and beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt. The
first point for determination is, therefore, answered in the affirmative.
No.2 So far as this point is concerned we may first refer in brief to what
these two witnesses had to say about the role played by accused 1 to 9 in the
incident. P.W.8 Chakali Rangamma stated that he was a resident of Boyalkuntla.
He earned his livelihood by washing clothes and by doing cooly work. He had
known accused 1 to 9 as they all belonged to his own village. that on the
morning of the date of the incident 12 persons including himself, deceased 1
and 2 complainant Ramalinga Reddy and P.Ws 1, 2, 7, 5 and others started from Boyalakuntla
on the jeep of Ramalinga Reddy to go to Mahanandi for attending the marriage of
one of the relatives of Ramalinga Reddy. P.W. 1 Srikantha Reddy was driving the
jeep. By the side of Srikantha Reddy, P.W. 2 Kullai Reddy, P.W.3 Subba Reddy
belonging to Chennur and the complainant Ramalinga Reddy sat on the front seat.
The witness P.W.9, Chakali Venkateswarlu, Deceased-1 Damodara Reddy and
Deceased-2 Rajsekhara Reddy were sitting on the right hand side four seater.
After they started from Boyalakuntla they first went to the school of Ramalinga
Reddy, where they stayed for stayed for one hour. After the jeep resumed its
journey from the school Ramalinga Reddy had a talk with somebody for 2-3
minutes and thereafter the jeep was proceeding towards Mahanandi. When their
jeep was approaching the Baggi Road P.W.1 Srikantha Reddy raised an Alarm. As
soon as e raised alarm he (P.W.8) turned his head towards P.W.1's side and
found accused 1 to 4 coming from behind the trees by the side of Baggi Road,
that is, from the eastern side meaning thereby from the right side of the jeep.
At first accused 1 and 4 hurled bombs and they fell on the road on the right
front side of the jeep and exploded.
accused no. 2 Ramana hurled another bomb which hit on the right side frame of
the back rest of the driver's seat and exploded cussing injuries to P.W.1 Srikantha
accused no.3 hurled another bomb which fell on the top of the jeep and
exploded. As the jeep proceeded further accused nos.5 to 9 hurled 5 bombs
coming from the western side. These bombs fell on the top of the jeep and e
exploded. The top cover of the jeep caught fire due to explosion of the bombs.
As soon as the jeep's top cover caught fire the witness P.W.8 Ranganna and
P.W.9 Venkateswarlu got down from the jeep and ran into the trees existing on
the western side of the road and hid themselves behind the trees. While they
were seeing from behind the trees, Deceased-1 Damodara Reddy and Deceased-2 Rajsekhara
Reddy jumped down from the jeep. The jeep did not stop after they jumped down
from it and it proceeded towards Mahanandi after taking the baggi Road turn. At
that time accused no.3 Pedda Subbarayudu hurled a bomb at deceased-1 Damodara
Reddy which hit on the front of the right thigh and exploded. Due to that
explosion deceased-1 Damodara Reddy fell on the ground facing downwards. The
accused-2 Ramana hurled a bomb on the back of Deceased-1 Damodara Reddy. Due to
the bomb blast Deceased-1 died on the spot standing in front of Deceased-2 Rajsekhara
Reddy. As Nadipi Subbarayudu hurled a bomb on the forehead of Deceased-2, that
bomb exploded, falling Deceased-2 dead. Thereafter all the accused A-1 to A-9
ran away from the place along the Baggi Road. Even after the departure of
Accused-1 to 9 P.W.8 remained behind the trees for about an hour. He came out
on that spot after the arrival of two police constables from Mahanandi. This
version of his ran parallel to the version of P.W.9 and could not be
effectively shaken in cross-examination. Eye- witness account regarding the
bomb injuries caused to both the deceased gets well supported by medical
evidence of Dr. K. Mohandas (P.W.13) who conducted post-mortem examination on
the dead body of Deceased-1 K. Damodara Reddy and Dr. P. Baban (P.W.14) who
performed the post-mortem examination on the dead body of Deceased-2 K. Rajsekhara
Reddy. The medical evidence has clearly shown the nature of multiple injuries
suffered by the deceased through the bombs hurled on them.
learned senior counsel Shri Lalit for the accused vehemently contended that
these so-called eye- witnesses are planted by the investigating agency and they
were really not eye-witnesses at all and consequently if they are disbelieved
there will be no evidence left against the accused for bringing home the
offence under Section 302 read with Section 149 I.P.C. to them. He submitted
that if this evidence is excluded, then as observed by the High Court, the
other eye-witness account against them cannot make them quality of offence of
order to discredit their version Shri Lalit placed the following aspects for
our consideration :
These two persons were under the thumb of complainant Ramalinga Reddy and they
were menial servants who would state on the lines dictated by him.
jeep was already over-crowded having 10 passengers.
was no occasion to take these additional two passengers in the jeep.
the prosecution version is that the jeep was carrying passengers of marriage
party these two persons who were not relatives and were total strangers to the
family would not have been carried in the jeep.
they had really been on the jeep and if according to them they had jumped out
of the jeep when the bombs were being hurled on the occupants of the jeep then
as the jeep was not stationary they would have received injuries. But there was
no such injury suffered by them.
Their version that having witnessed the murderous attack by the concerned
accused on both the deceased on the road they remained hidden behind the trees
and did not come out for one hour is highly artificial and unnatural.
even after the police constables came on the spot according to them they did
not inform the police constables about what they had seen. Not only that when
the police inspector P.W. 17 came on the spot and halted on the spot while
going from Nandyal to Mahanandi and when he was there for at least half an hour
if not for one hour as deposed to by him these two witnesses did not say
anything to the police inspector. This is also highly unnatural.
Even in the inquest Panchnama they are not shown to have signed as Panchas.
That also makes their presence highly doubtful.
as observed by the High Court they were being carried in the jeep being
musclemen and as the complainant Ramalinga Reddy was apprehending attack on his
party at the hands of accused who belonged to the rival faction they would have
These witnesses also did not even try to run away from the spot after seeing
the murderous attack on the part of the accused even after the accused left the
scene of offence. Nor did they go to inform anyone on the spot as the evidence
shows that some buses were also passing by the road.
this conduct on the part of the witnesses P.Ws.8 and 9 according to learned
senior counsel Shri Lalit showed that the witnesses must really not be present
on the spot and they are got-up wholly with a view to support the prosecution
case. Having given our anxious consideration to these contentions, in our view,
none of these aspects really whittle down or dilute the effect of the version
deposed to by both these witnesses in a consistent manner. We shall examine the
aforesaid aspects highlighted by Shri Lalit one by one.
as the first aspect is concerned, even though they may be working on the
household of complainant Ramalinga Reddy it cannot be said that the said
circumstance by itself would make their presence in the jeep car on that
fateful morning doubtful from any angle. On the contrary, as the High Court has
observed because they were musclemen and men of trust and confidence of the
complainant Ramalinga Reddy it would be too natural for complainant Ramalinga
Reddy to take them with him in marriage party especially because of the past
enmity with the accused and looking to the past conduct of the accused nos. 1
to 4 who had hurled bombs even earlier on complainant's party as is evident
from the evidence of the P.W.1 and P.W.4. It has come in evidence that the road
from Nandyal to Mahanandi passed through a forest and earlier almost near the
same spot complainant Ramalinga Reddy and his party were attacked by the party
of accused no.1 as revealed by evidence of P.W.1, son of Ramalinga Reddy who
was driving the jeep on that fateful day and by the evidence of P.W.4 K. Rajeshwar
Reddy. Learned counsel for the respondent was right when he pointed out relying
on evidence of P.W.4 that Ramalinga Reddy had asked P.Ws 8 and 9 to come to the
venue of the marriage being under the impression that their services were
needed by people who were performing the marriage. Witness Srikantha Reddy,
P.W.1, has stated din his evidence that the incident occurred when their jeep
reached near Baggi road which leads to Nallamala forest, and while he was
negotiating the road turning there, Accused-1, 3 and 4 were seen coming towards
the road turning from the eastern side carrying bombs in their hands. Thus the
apprehension of Ramalinga Reddy had come true. Consequently, it would not be said
that there was anything unnatural in complainant Ramalinga Reddy asking these
two witnesses to accompany him on that fateful morning.
as the second aspect is concerned, the evidence reveals that four persons were
sitting on the front seat which included P.W.1, driver on the right side,
P.Ws.2 and 3 in between and complainant Ramalinga Reddy on the left side.
as the back seats were concerned there were two parallel back seats in the jeep
and each could accommodate four persons. P.W.1 Srikantha Reddy in his evidence
has stated that in the rear side of the jeep there were two seats opposite to
each other and perpendicular to the driver's seat. All the 8 persons were
sitting on the seats only and not on the floor of the jeep. Immediately behind
him Deceased-1 Damodara Reddy and next to him Deceased-2 Rajsekhara Reddy was
sitting and next to him P.Ws 8 and 9 were sitting in that order while behind
his father that is on the left side back seat P.W.5 Subba Reddy, P.W.6 Narayana
Reddy, and other two were sitting. On both sides of the `Baggi rasta' there
were bushes and trees. Even on either side of the road leading to Mahanandi
from the road turning there were bushes and trees. Nothing substantial could be
taken out from his cross-examination so far as this aspect is concerned. It,
therefore, cannot be said that 12 persons could not travel in the jeep as tried
to be submitted by learned senior counsel for the accused.
as the third aspect is concerned, as we have already seen earlier the evidence
shows that Ramalinga Reddy wanted these two witnesses to accompany the marriage
party both on the ground that they were musclemen as found by the High Court
and would be useful especially when the road was to pass through forest and
when they had already suffered bomb attacks at the hands of the accused
earlier, there being deep-seated enmity between the two factions and also on
the ground that they were menial servants their presence would also be useful
while attending the marriage function at Mahanandi. Consequently even this
contention on the part of the learned senior counsel for accused is devoid of
as the fourth aspect is concerned, evidence of P.W.1 Srikantha Reddy shows that
the road on the spot where the incident occurred was having a turn and it was
rough road and was full of potholes. He was, therefore, driving the jeep very
slowly and the incident occurred when their jeep reached near baggi Road while
he was negotiating the road turning. It is, therefore, easy to visualise that
when the accused are said to have attacked the jeep from the front coming from
the right side, the jeep was being driven very slowly. It is also quite likely
that when the jeep was taking a turn it would not have the same speed with
which it would travel otherwise on a straight road. Under these circumstances,
if the witnesses being scared on account of hurling of bombs by the accused
jumped down from a slow moving jeep, it was not absolutely necessary that they
should have received injuries. It is also to be kept in view that they were
menial servants and as the High Court has found they were strong persons being
musclemen. Therefore, after dropping down from the jeep if they had run and
hidden behind the trees it could not be said that they could not have run or
that they could not have suffered any injuries.
aspect, therefor, also pales into insignificance.
as the fifth aspect is concerned, we have to visualise the position in which
these two menial servants found themselves when their masters were being
attacked with bombs. They would naturally get scared and would not intend to
come out to rescue them as they would otherwise also get injured, if not
fatally, as their master's relatives Deceased-1 and 2 got injured. It is true
that they remained hidden for one hour but that would be natural because they
could not run away from the scene of offence as the near relatives of their
master complainant Ramalinga Reddy, namely, his son-in-law and brother who were
accompanying him being members of the marriage party were lying dead on spot
and when his master along with others injured had proceeded further towards Mahanandi.
Till they come back they would naturally not leave the place. Therefore, there
was nothing unusual in their remaining on spot hidden for one hour being
mightily afraid of any fresh attack from the side of the accused.
as the sixth aspect is concerned, as their master Ramalinga Reddy had already
gone towards Mahanandi with the other injured members of the marriage party these
witnesses were not expected to say anything in the matter to the police
constables or even to the police inspector till their master arrived on spot.
We have to judge the mental condition of these menial servants who would
naturally get aghast by the terrific attack suffered by his master and his
relatives in bombs hurled on them. Under these circumstances if they kept mum
till their master arrived on the site it cannot be said that they were behaving
in an unnatural manner.
as the seventh aspect is concerned, we fail to appreciate how that will make
any difference as in the inquest Panchnama itself their presence is noted. They
might not have signed as other `panchas' were available.
as the eighth submission is concerned, whether they were armed or not would not
make their presence suspect as they were also being carried in the jeep for
doing menial work at the place of the marriage as stated by witness P.W.4 K. Rajeshwar
Reddy to which we have made a reference earlier.
as the ninth aspect is concerned, we have already shown while discussing aspect
no.6 that these witnesses might not have revealed as to what they saw till
their master Ramalinga Reddy came on spot. On the same reasoning, therefore,
this aspect also loses its importance and does not make their presence on spot
doubtful from any angle.
view, therefore, the aforesaid alleged infirmities as pointed out by learned
senior counsel for accused for disbelieving the version of these witnesses do
not in any way affect the core of their evidence which remains well sustained
on record. But even otherwise there are certain salient features which have
been established in the case which clearly point out that their presence on
spot was not in any way doubtful. It has to be kept in view that in the
complaint Ex.P.1 which was filed immediately after the bomb attack when the
jeep car went to Mahanandi Police Station names of these two witnesses are
clearly mentioned as having been present on spot. even that apart all the
witnesses who were travelling in the jeep, namely. P.Ws.1 and 4 to 7 also
deposed about their presence in the jeep and how they jumped from thee jeep
after the first bomb attack on the jeep. Not only that but even hostile
witnesses P.Ws.2 and 3 who also got injured in the incident clearly deposed
that these two witnesses P.Ws.8 and 9 were also accompanying them in the jeep
on the date of the incident and so far as that aspect is concerned there was no
cross-examination nor was this part of their evidence even challenged by the defence.
We, therefore, entirely concur with the finding of the High Court that these
two witnesses were quite reliable and they had actually witnessed the murderous
attack on Deceased-1 and 2 by the accused party. Before parting with this
discussion, we may also mention one submission of Shri Lalit for discrediting
the version of these eye-witnesses.
submitted that these two witnesses have stated that on spot where the dead
bodies were lying they did not find any unexploded bomb while the Panchnama of
the scene of offence and even the version of P.W.17 Police Inspector shows that
there was an unexploded bomb lying on the scene of offence.
view this circumstance is too trivial to shake the veracity of the version
deposed to by these two witnesses.
illiterate manual servants they might not have understood the nature of
unexploded bomb and might not have noticed it. That would not have made their
presence suspect when there is aforesaid clinching evidence unequivocally
pointing to their presence on spot. For all these reasons, therefore, it must
be held that the High Court was perfectly justified in placing implicit faith
on the eye-witness account of these two witnesses and accordingly holding that
all the accused were quality of an offence under Section 302 read with Section
149 I.P.C. as they all formed an unlawful assembly and had gathered together on
spot to have murderous attack on the occupants of the jeep wherein complainant Ramalinga
Reddy, their arch enemy, was leading a party of persons comprising of this own
relatives to Village Mahanandi and they succeeded in causing bomb injuries to
number of passengers in the jeep including the complainant and were also
successful in taking lives of two close relatives of complainant Ramalinga
Reddy being his own son- in-law and his brother who were also members of the
said marriage party and who had travelled in the jeep before they jumped down
presumably being scared of further attack of bombs at the hands of these
accused. the second point is, therefore, held in the affirmative.
No.3 So far as this point is concerned, we have already discussed in details
while considering point no.1 how the eve-witness account of injured
eye-witnesses P.Ws.1 and 4 to 7 remains well sustained on record in the light
of medical evidence. For the reasons recorded by us on that point, therefore,
it must be held that the eye-witness account of these witnesses who were
members of the marriage party and who got injured on account of the bomb attack
mounted on the jeep car on that fateful morning by accused no.1 and his party,
has to be accepted. Their version as we have noted earlier is quite consistent
and parallel. In fact as Shri Lalit, learned senior counsel for the accused,
submitted it is too accurate to be true. In our view merely because the version
of all these injured eye-witnesses is accurate and comprises of parallel
versions deposed to by each of them, it cannot be said that it is a parrot like
version which should not be accepted especially when the medical evidence has
fully supported their version that they received bomb injuries in the attack.
In fact Shri Lalit, learned senior counsel for accused, fairly stated that on
this evidence it is not possible for him to submit an extreme contention that
these witnesses had not suffered bomb injuries in that attack but according to
him their evidence could not be relied upon to show that these accused had
caused these injuries. So far as this aspect is concerned, it is obvious that
there was deep-seated enmity between the complainant's party and the party on
accused no.1 and his supporters. It is also to be noted that accused nos. 2 to
9 were all close relatives of accused no.1 who was the leader of the team being
an aged man of 70 years or more. Other accused were his own sons and nephews
apart from accused no.10.
they had a deep-seated common grievance against complainant Ramalinga Reddy and
his relatives who were accompanying him and were members of his party. There
was an earlier attack by bomb by accused party on the complainant's party. It
was also alleged that in past bombs were hurled by complainant's partymen at
the house of Sirigiri Rama Subba Reddy who belonged to the faction of accused
no. 1. The evidence has also revealed that the road from Nandyal to Mahanandi
passed through forest and at the spot where the incident occurred there was
history of earlier attack by bomb by accused party on Ramalinga Reddy and his
these circumstances when the jeep was being driven on spot if the accused
mounted the attack from the front it is easy to visualise that the occupants of
the jeep would clearly locate them especially when they were all known to them
since long and were in fact apprehending such an attack from them. The `panchnama'
of the jeep car Ex. P.19 clearly supports the eye-witness account of these
witnesses apart from the medical evidence to which we have made a reference
while discussing point no.1. It is true that the jeep car was not seized or
photographed but still the `panchnama' about the condition of the jeep car
after the incident is eloquent enough to fully support the version of these
injured eye-witnesses. Ex.P.19 recites that behind the seat of the driver where
the bomb had fallen, the portion had turned yellow and was smelling of sulphur.
The side bar at the tarpaulin by the side of the driver was slightly bent.
tarpaulin on the side of the driver due to bomb hit was torn here and there.
There were yellow marks of sulphur on the tarpaulin. The tarpaulin on the left
side was of rexin.
tarpaulin on the top was torn. Due to bomb hit, marks like that of small-pox
were formed on the side angle and they were yellow in colour. The danger light
which was on the back right side of the jeep was broken. This `panchnama'
clearly shows that the jeep on the date of the incident had suffered multiple
bomb attacks. Shri Lalit submitted that if nine bombs were used in the attack
as per these alleged eye- witnesses, damage to the jeep would have been much
more extensive. It is difficult to appreciate this contention.
of the scene of offence has shown that one bomb was lying unexploded on the
spot. There was thick bush growth on both sides of the road near the scene of offence,
therefore, some bombs might not have hit the target. It is also to be kept in
view that Deceased-1 and 2 also suffered from at least three bomb injuries and
there were extensive and multiple injuries suffered by seven occupants of the
jeep who deposed before the Trial Court being P.Ws.1 to 7 and the complainant
since deceased also had suffered from bomb injuries in the incident. Not only
that even the hostile PWs-2 and 3 had also suffered from bomb injuries as found
from medical evidence and their own evidence. These diverse injuries on number
of persons travelling in the jeep clearly indicated that the eye-witness
account that all the accused were armed with bombs and had hurled the bombs at
the occupants of the jeep being the members of marriage party headed by
complainant Ramalinga Reddy cannot be said to be in any way an exaggerated or a
false verson. On the contrary, the said version appears to be quite justified
and well supported by evidence on record. Shri Lalit, in this connection,
submitted that the evidence shows that the jeep was having tarpaulin covers on
both sides and when the case of the prosecution is that the attack was mounted
by the accused from the front side it is not possible to believe that all the
witnesses would have seen the actual hurling of bombs. Even this submission
cannot be accepted for the simple reason that the prosecution version which is
supported by eye-witness account is to the effect that accused came from two
directions. IN fact the entire incident on spot can be divided into three parts
that took place in quick succession. In the first part accused-1 to 4 came from
the right side and hurled three bombs on the accupants of the jeep. That caused
injuries to the occupants on the right side of the jeep including the driver
P.W.1 and damaged the jeep on the right side. Thereafter in the 2nd part of
incident the accused nos.5 to 9 came from the western side, that is, the left
side and mounted bomb attack on the jeep which resulted in damage to the top of
the jeep which was set aflame and also caused injuries to complainant Ramalinga
Reddy and other occupants on the left side in the jeep. When such an attack is
mounted from the front side from two directions, it is easy to visualise that
the occupants would naturally get scared and would look on the front side from
where the attack was being mounted and can witness the culprits. In this
connection also, it may be noted that so far as deceased complainant Ramalinga
Reddy is concerned he was sitting on the extreme left in the front seat and he
had received injuries from bomb blast on the left side of his body. Nature of
the injuries suffered by him fully corroborates the eye-witness account deposed
to by P.W.1 and 4 to 7. It cannot, therefore, be said, as submitted by Shri Lalit
for the accused, that these occupants of the jeep who suffered from injuries on
account of bomb attack could not have seen as to who were the culprits or
authors of the attack. It was broad day light in the morning of 1st June 1957 and all the accused were very well
known to these witnesses and when they attacked, coming in front of the jeep
from both left and right sides, they would be fully visible to the occupants of
the jeep. It is, therefore, not possible to agree with the contention of Shri Lalit
that the occupants of the jeep could not have identified these accused. The
third part of the incident refers to what happened to deceased nos.1 and 2 who
jumped from the jeep car and met their death by suffering from bomb injuries at
the hands of the accused in the course of the very same transaction. For all
these reasons, therefore, it is not possible to agree with the submission of
the Shri Lalit that the eye-witness account of these witnesses should not be
believed. We find that the High Court has given cogent reasons at pages 13 and
14 of the judgment under appeal as well as at page 21 why the eye-witness
account of these witnesses should be believed. We entirely concur with the
same. The High Court has also noted one submission canvassed on behalf of the
accused that when accused nos.1 to 9 were allegedly throwing bombs at the jeep
from either side it would have been more prudent for deceased to remain in the
jeep itself. Said submission was rightly turned down by the High Court as it is
not possible to predicate with any degree of certainty as to how a person would
behave when he is being attacked by bombs from both the sides by belligerent
attackers. If getting scared, Deceased-1 and 2 jumped out of the jeep along
with P.Ws.8 and 9 it cannot be said that they had acted in an unnatural manner
or that they should have continued to remain in the jeep to suffer from bomb
blasts. Instinct of self-preservation prompted the deceased to get out of harms
way by jumping out of the attacked jeep but unfortunately they could not save
themselves. Consequently, it cannot be said that the eye- witness account of
accused nos.1 and 4 to
7 in any way is
unbelievable or unacceptable. On the contrary, their account is quite natural
and remains well sustained on the record of the case. In this connection, we
may also note one additional submission of Shri Lalit. He submitted that the
First Information report Ex.P.17 mentioned that four persons remained in the
jeep after the bomb attack and 8 persons jumped out of the jeep whereas the
eye-witnesse account showed that 8 persons remained in the jeep and 4 persons
jumped out. We fail to appreciate how this would make any difference. Whether 4
persons jumped out or 8 persons jumped out would not affect the culpability of
the accused who had mounted the attack on the jeep, which remained well
established on record in the light of the eye-witness account. Even otherwise
as we have discussed earlier, while considering point no.1 the eye-witness
account of these witnesses cannot be contradicted with what is stated in the
First Information report by the complainant who could not be examined in the
case. The version of the eye-witnesses could be contradicted with their earlier
police statements if at all. Their version cannot be contradicted with what was
stated in the First Information Report by a third party and which by itself was
not a substantive piece of evidence and which even could not be tested on the
anvil of cross- examination as the complainant was dead prior to the trial.
next contended that the prosecution has not fully established its case that
this party was going to attend the marriage at village Mahanandi. It is
difficult to appreciate this contention. The eye-witness account which has
remained unshaken in cross examination shows that there was a marriage in the
family of complainant Ramalinga Reddy at village Mahanandi and they were all
going to attend the said marriage. The occupants in the jeep car along with the
complainant Ramalinga Reddy were P.W.1 his son, his younger son Lakshmi Reddy,
his brother Damodara Reddy and his son- in-law Rajsekhara Reddy Deceased-2, and
other relatives and acquaintances, in all 10 and who were also accompanied by
two menial servants P.Ws.8 and 9. But even assuming that the occasion of
marriage at village Mahanandi was not established even then if the
complainant's party was going on the fateful morning in a jeep car for
attending any other social function at Mahanandi and if that party was attacked
by bombs by the accused in the manner deposed to by the prosecution witnesses
the culpability of accused would not be lessened in any manner. For all these
reasons, therefore, there is no substance in this additional submission of the
learned senior counsel for the accused for disbelieving the eye-witness account
of injured eye-witnesses P.Ws.1 and 4 to 7. This point is, therefore, answered in the affirmative.
No.4 So far as this point is concerned, Shri Lalit, learned senior counsel for
the accused, vehemently submitted that P.W.17 Bhaskaran who conducted
investigation had almost played in the hands of complainant Ramalinga Reddy and
had tried to develop prosecution case as he wished by roping in the accused
no.1 and all of his family members. That it was an unfair investigation. In
order to support this contention he highlighted the following aspects :
When complainant Ramalinga Reddy reached Mahanandi Police Station after the
incident, head constable was already present who instead of recording the First
Information report sent a message to witness Bhaskaran at Nandyal Police
Station. Thus it appeared that complainant Ramalinga Reddy wanted to make out a
case only after Bhaskaran met him.
The conduct of P.W.17 Bhaskaran after having received the message was also
unnatural inasmuch as before reaching Mahanandi Police Station though he
visited the scene of offence and found two dead bodies he is said not to have
got down from the jeep and instead had waited for one hour or at least half an
hour in the jeep and made no spot enquiry at that place but put the criminal investigation
machinery into motion only after meeting complainant Ramalinga Reddy in Mahanandi
So called First Information Report was a got-up document prepared at the
instance of Ramalinga Reddy after full consultation with this witness.
That the police diary was not produced before the court.
That the head constable to whom Ramalinga Reddy is said to have first met after
the incident at Mahanandi Police Station was not examining the case.
That according to the P.Ws.8 and 9, P.W.17 Police Inspector was writing
something on the scene of offence where he halted before reaching Mahanandi
showed that he had taken undue interest in the case.
That the jeep car which is alleged to have received the impact of bomb blast at
the time of the incident was not got photographed nor was it seized.
view none of the aforesaid submissions can whittle down the efficacy of the
eye-witness account of the injured eye-witnesses who had suffered bomb blast
careful scrutiny of the evidence on record we find that the investigation
cannot be said to be partial or unfair to the accused from any angle.
of P.W.17 Bhaskaran shows that on 1st June 1987 he was in Taluk Police Station of Nandyal. That about 10 a.m. he received information regarding occurrence through
Very High Frequency Set from Station House Officer of Mahanandi Police Station.
Immediately he collected the presence of Shri L. Thirupal Reddy, the then
sub-inspector of Nandyal taluk Division and in his company he rushed to the
scene of offence. Now it must be kept in view that complainant Ramalinga Reddy
reached Mahanandi Police Station, he informed the Station House Officer about
the incident. Station House Officer immediately sent a High Frequency Message
to witness K.N. Bhaskaran who was his superior. It is not even alleged that
full details of the incident were informed by the complainant in that head
constable. Therefore, if an offence is not registered in the absence of full
details and only if it is informed that an incident in which bombs were thrown
on a jeep car and which had killed two persons and injured the complainant and
others who had come to the Police Station it cannot be said that full details
of occurrence of a cognizable offence were conveyed to the Police Station
Officer who should have recorded the First Information Report. Looking to the
serious nature of the incident if the head constable thought it fit to
immediately send a message to his superior officer said conduct cannot be said
to be unnatural from any angle.
can it be said that at that stage P.W.17 Bhaskaran who had not even met the
complainant had developed any special interest in him. The evidence shows the
complainant had himself written down the complaint and he was awaiting the
arrival of witness Bhaskaran to the Police Station at Mahanandi and moment the
witness reached Mahanandi Police Station the written complaint was submitted
which was registered as an F.I.R. Consequently it cannot be said that the said
written complaint was not an F.I.R. in the real sense of the term or that for
preparing the same the witness had taken any undue interest or monitored the
same as Shri Lalit would like to have it. P.W.17 Bhaskaran had clearly stated
that on his reaching the police station complainant Ramalinga Reddy submitted
the written complaint Ex.P.1 which was already prepared by him even before his
(P.W.17's) reaching the police station. Nothing substantial could be taken out
in his cross-examination to discredit this version. In fact in his
cross-examination he made it clear that he had received only information from Mahanandi
Police Station about the occurrence while he was at Nandyal and that the
message simply informed him that bombs were hurled, two persons died and
several others received injuries without disclosing the names of the assailants
and those of the victims. In the entry made by him he only noted that there was
an attack with bombs against a jeep travelling along the Nandyal Mahanandi road
on the morning of 1st
June 1987. And that
immediately on receiving that message he proceeded to the scene of offence. It
becomes, therefore, obvious that no information regarding the commission of a
cognizable offence with all its details was ever available either to the police
station officer at Mahanandi Police Station or to the witness at Nandyal and
that such information became available to him only when, on reaching Mahanandi
Police Station he got a written complaint from the complainant Ramalinga Reddy.
It, therefore, cannot be said that the said complaint Ex. P.1 was prepared in
collaboration with or under guidance of the witness as tried to be submitted by
as the second submission is concerned, evidence of K. Srikantha Reddy, P.W.1, driver
of the jeep shows that for going to Mahanandi from Boyalkuntla one has to be
cross Nandyal Giddable road, at a distance of about 3 kilometres from that
village. Nandyal-Haddalur road runs from east to west. Bovalkuntla lies to the
south of that road. For going to Mahanandi one has to proceed towards north
after crossing Giddalur road. It, therefore, becomes clear that for going from Nanadyal
To Mahanandi the scene of offence would fall on way. The evidence of P.W.17 Bhaskaran
shows that at 10.00
a.m. he was at Nandyal
Police Station and the moment he received the High Frequency Message he started
in his jeep for going to Mahanandi, On way came the scene of offence where he
halted having found two dead bodies and two police constables keeping a watch
there. Even if he might have waited for half an hour in his jeep car on the
scene of offence it cannot be said that he had exhibited any unnatural conduct.
He had already come to know that the complainant had reached Mahanandi Police
Station from where he got the High Frequency Message. Under these
circumstances, if he did not make any further inquiry on that spot but
proceeded further to reach the destination of his journey, that is, Mahanandi
Police Station to get the first hand information from the complainant it could
not be said that he had exhibited any undue interest in the case.Shri Lalit was
very sanguine about his contention that it is unnatural that a police office
would not come down from the jeep having seen the dead bodies on the spot. It
cannot be forgotten that he was on way to Mahanandi and had halted on way near
the scene of offence in the course of his onward journey. By then he had not
got full details about the incident. The police constables found on spot were
keeping a watch over the dead bodies. They had no information to convey all the
happenings of the incident.
was no one else round about to give him any further information. Under these
circumstances, if he did not get down from the jeep but having enquired from
the constables and having come to know that the complainant was already waiting
at the Mahanandi Police Station to give all the details about the incident if
he proceeded in his jeep without alighting from the jeep it cannot be said that
such a behavior by itself exhibited an unnatural conduct.
as the third submission is concerned, we have already seen while considering
the submission of Shri Lalit that the First Information Report Ex.P.1 was
handed over to him when he reached Mahanandi Police Station and prior thereto no
detailed information about the commission of a cognizable offence, information
about the nature of the attack and the authorship of the attack were available
either at the end of Mahanandi Police Station or at Nandyal Police Station. As
we have seen above witness P.W.17 clearly stated in his evidence and that too
in cross-examination that only information which he received in the message at Nandyal
was about the occurrence of an incident of bomb attack but no details were
available to him at that time. It cannot, therefore, be said that E.P.1 was not
an F.I.R. in the real sense of the term. It also cannot be said that he was
instrumental in getting in prepared as it was already made ready by the
complainant by the time the witness Bhaskaran reached Mahanandi Police Station.
as the fourth submission of non-production of police diary is concerned the
High Court has rightly held that no attempt was made by the defence during
trial to call upon the prosecution side to produce the police diary.
grievance regarding the same would pale into insignificance. But even that
apart, as P.W.17 Bhaskaran had stated in his evidence all that he noted in the
police diary on receipt of the message was about occurrence of the incident
without any details and consequently non-production of the police dairy had not
resulted into any prejudice to the defence.
as the fifth submission of non-examination of the police head constable at Mahanandi
Police Station is concerned, as the evidence of P.W.17 has shown the said head
constable's only role was to send the High Frequency Message to his superior
calling him to the police station at Mahanandi. No other details were available
about the nature of the offence to the said police head constable.
his non-examination had no effect either way on the fate of the case.
as the sixth submission is concerned, the evidence shows that the statements of
witnesses P.Was.8 and 9 were recorded by P.W.17 Bhaskaran after he came back to
the scene of offence after visiting Mahanandi Police Station and after the
complaint was registered. Even if prior thereto during his first halting visit
to the scene of offence en route to Mahanandi Police Station and after the
complaint was registered. Even if prior thereto during his first halting visit
to the scene of offence en route to Mahanandi Police Station, he had taken any
notes of his own, that had no impact on the conduct of investigation after the
registration of the offence. In fact, on this aspect nothing was tried to be
elicited from him in his cross-examination.
this contention is devoid of any merit.
as the seventh submission of absence of photograph of jeep car is concerned it
may be noted that the `panchnama' of the damaged jeep car is already on record
and this `panchnama' was promptly got made by the witness P.W.17 once the
investigation started. That `panchnama' gives a graphic picture of the damage
suffered by the jeep car on account of the bomb blast at the time of the
whether the jeep car was photographed on not or was seized or not, would not be
a circumstance which would have any serious impact on the prosecution case one
way or the other.
view of the aforesaid salient features of the case, therefore, it is not
possible to countenance the submission of Shri Lalit that the investigation was
faulty or biased or was a partial one. This point is therefore, answered in the
No. 5 As a result of the aforesaid discussion it must be held that the High Court
was quite justified in interfering with the order of acquittal as passed by the
trial Court and in convicting the accused of the offences with which they were
charged. Eye-witness account of injured eye witnesses being occupants in the
jeep car P.W.1 and P.Was 4 to 7 as well as eye witness account of P.Was. 8 and
9 has remained well sustained on the record and is fully corroborated by
medical evidence as well as by the evidence of damage to the jeep car as found
in `panchnama' Ex. P.19. Consequently no case is made out for our interference
in this appeal.
result the appeal fails and is dismissed.