Karnataka Vs. Bhoja Poojari & ANR 
INSC 713 (9 September 1997)
NANAVATI, S.P. KURDUKAR
9TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 1997 Present:
Mr. Justice G.T.Nanavati Hon'ble Mr,Justice S.P.Kurdukar Ms. Manjula Kulkarni, M.Veerappa,
Advs. for the appellant R.S.Hegde, K.K.Tyagi, K.R.Nagaraja, Advs. for the
following Judgment of the Court was delivered:
(since deceased) was the daughter of Kirodian (PW 3) and Amba (PW 5). They are
the resident of Bombay. On 28th November, 1976, Chitravathi was married to Bhoja Poojari (A-1)-the
first respondent herein. After marriage the couple went to the native place of
A-1 at Kalwar and stayed there for one and half moths. A-1 then came to Bangalore and after staying there for a week
or so, he returned to kalwar where his father was ailing. One week thereafter,
A-1 along with Chitravathi came to Bangalore.
of Chitravathi who had come to Bangalore went
to Kalwar to see their daughter. Chitravathi told her parents that she was
being harassed for dowry and ornaments. At that time, Chitravathi was in her
fifth month of pregnancy.
her parents and brother of A-1 then came to Bangalore at the house of A-1 at Chikkanna garden. A-1 did not appreciate the
coming of Chikkanna garden. A-1 did not appreciate the coming of Chitravathi at
his house at Chikkanna garden as he was then staying with his mistress Parvathi
(A-2), the second respondent herein. Parents of Chitravathi were very much
disturbed on finding A-1, residing with A-2 at Bangalore. Chitravathi and her parents thereafter went to Bangalore at their relative's house and after
staying there for one and a half months, they returned to Bombay along with A-1 on or about 3rd November, 1977.
to the prevailing custom, parents of Chitravathi celebrated Seemantha ceremony
as she was in her seventh month of pregnancy. A-1 stayed at Bombay for about one and a half months and
thereafter left for Bangalore.
on 2nd February, 1978 was blessed with a female child at Bombay and A-1 was informed by a letter
but, however, he did not respond to the same. Since there was no response from
A-1, Chitravathi told her parents that she would go to Bangalore and stay with
A-1 and A-2 and would face the difficulties which might arise, Chitravathi's
parents, however, did not approve of it immediately and made her to wait at
Bombay until the naming ceremony of the child was over. The child was named by Nalini.
Sometime in the month of August, 1978, Kirodian (PW 3) along with his daughter
and grand child came to Bangalore. When they came to the house of A-1
at Bangalore, they saw A-2 along with her three
children was residing in the house of A-1.
(PW 3) then advised A-1 to look after his daughter and the child properly and
thereafter he left for Bombay.
While leaving for Bombay, it is alleged by the prosecution
that Kirodian (PW 3) told Chitravathi that the would be sending money on the
address of Guruva (PW 19) who would pay the same to her. This arrangement
continued for sometime but in January, 1979, when Guruva (PW 19) received a
money order from Kirodian (PW 3). he informed him that when he went to the
house of A-1 at Chikkanna garden on two occasions, he found the house locked
and on enquiry, the neighbours informed him that one day Chitravathi, Nalini
and A-1 had gone to see a film at 1.00 p.m. and thereafter they did not return. Kirodian (PW 3) on January 15, 1979 received a letter (Ex.P5)
purporting to have been written by his daughter stating that she was going to a
place which was 13 miles away from Bangalore and she would inform her new address. till then money order be not
sent. Kirodian (PW 3) who was conversant with the hand writing of Chitravathi
did not believe that the said letter was written by he and suspecting some foul
play he wrote back to Guruva (PW 19) requesting him to go and find out the whereabout
of Chitravathi. On 15th of May, 1979, Ananda son of Guruva came to Bombay and
told Kirodian (PW 3) that whereabouts of Chitravathi, Nalini and A-1 were not
known. Kirodian (PW 3) then on 29th May, 1979
came to Bangalore and after making enquiries with the
neighbours of A-1 residing at Chikkanna garden, was told that Chitravathi and Nalini
were taken by A-1 at 1.00
P.M. and since then
they did not return. One of the neighbours also told that A-1 had taken Chitravathi
and her daughter to watch a film show. Kirodian (PW 3) then made several
attempts to find out the whereabouts of Chitaravathi and her child but without
any success and therefore, on 3rd June, 1979,
he lodged a missing report/complaint at Central Police Station, Bangalore (Ex.P56). The police also searched
the missing persons at various places but they could not find them nor could
they get any clue. On 11th
July, 1979, Kirodian
(PW 3) lodged a complaint (Ex.P3) suspecting the murder of his daughter Chitravathi
and Nalini. The crime was accordingly registered for an offence punishable
under Section 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code. During the investigation, A-1
was apprehended by Veera Basappa Raju (PW 22) at the Byatarayanapur bus stand
and was produced before the C.P.I who arrested him. During interrogation, he
voluntary made a statement to point out the place where the dead bodies were
buried. Accordingly, mahazar (memorandum) was prepared in the presence of the panch
witnesses after obtaining the permission from the Sub Divisional Magistrate to
exhume the dead bodies. Investigating Officer along with A-1, panch witnesses,
medical officer and photographer went to the Sarvodaya School compound as per the direction of
A-1. A-1 then pointed out the place where the dead bodies were buried. The dead
bodies were kept in the gunny bag which was then taken out of a pit. They were
in a highly decomposed condition. The Investigating Officer carried out the
inquest panchanama on the dead bodies. The articles which were found on the
dead bodies and in the pit were seized under the panchanamas. Dr. B.C.Chandra Gowda
(PW 23) performed the autopsy on the dead bodies. B Raghavendra Rao, Serologist
(PW 12) carried out the test after super imposing the skull. A-2 was arrested
on 1st August, 1979.
completing the investigation. A-1 and A-2, the respondents herein were put up
for trial for the offences punishable under Section 302, 201/34 IPC.
Both the accused/respondents herein pleaded not guilty to the charge and
claimed to be tried. According to them, they are innocent and they have been
falsely implicated in the present crime.
There is no direct evidence to the crime in question and, therefore, the
prosecution case entirely rested on circumstantial evidence. The prosecution
must prove each circumstance beyond reasonable doubt and such circumstance must
complete the chain. Such proved circumstances must exclude any other reasonable
hypothesis of innocence of the accused and they must be pointer to the guilt f
prosecution has examined number of witnesses to prove these various
circumstances and the evidence thereof will be dealt with each circumstance
is not disputed that Chitravathi (since deceased) was the daughter of Kirodian
(PW 3) and was married to Bhoja Poojari @ Vasu son of Babu Poojari on 28th November, 1976 at Bombay. A-1 is the resident of village Kalwar in karnataka.
Marriage, A-1 took Chitravathi to village Kalwar and after staying there for
one and a half months left Chitravathi at his parent's house and case to
Bangalore where he was residing in a Chikkanna garden, It is also not seriously
disputed that Chitravathi stayed with A-1 at bangalore for some time and
thereafter came to Bombay along with her father as she was on the family way
and on 2nd February, 1978, she was blessed with a daughter. Sometime in August,
1978, Kirodian (PW 3) along with his wife, son, Chitravathi and Nalini (newly
born baby) came to Bangalore.
left Chitravathi and Nalini at the house of A-1 with a request to took after
them properly. Kirodian and others thereafter left for Bombay. The evidence of Kirodian (PW 3)
and Amba (PW 5) is very categorical that they left Chitravathi and Nalini at
the place of A-1 and thereafter left for Bombay. In view of this positive evidence, it is clearly established by the
prosecution that Chitravathi and Nalini were left at the house of A-1 at Chikkanna
garden in August, 1978. The evidence of Krishna (PW 16).
(PW 18), Sarojamma (PW 20) and Sulochana (PW 21) who were neighbours indicated
that Chitravati. Nalini and A-1 continued to stay in the said house until 12th January 1979.
is alleged by the prosecution that on 12th January, 1979 at about noon time, A-1 went along with Chitravathi and Nalini from his house at Chikkanna
garden to a movie. After 13th of January, 1979, Chitravathi and Nalini wee not
On 14th July , 1979, two dead bodies were exhumed from
the compound of Sarvodaya School, Jainagar, Bangalore,
where A-1 was staying in a watchman shed during that period.
first and the most important circumstance that prosecution has to prove is
whether the two dead bodies exhumed on 14th July, 1979, were identified beyond
reasonable doubt to be that of Chitravathi and Nalini. The two dead bodies were
kept in a gunny bag and were found buried in a pit and then filled with earth.
This pit was near the shed of A-1 in the Sarvodaya School compound. The dead bodies were
exhumed on 14th July,
1979 on the basis of
the statement made by A-1 under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act and then
pointing out the place where the dead bodies were buried. As regards the
identity of the dead bodies, the trial court accepted the evidence of Kirodian
(PW 3), Amba (PW 5), Siddaiah (PW 9), Venkatachalaiah (PW 11) and Kempegowda
(PW 13) as credible one. This ocular evidence finds corroboration from some of
articles) which were found on the dead bodies.
these articles, Karimanisara (MO 9), toe rings (MO 10) and pieces of bangles
(MO 11) were found on the dead body of an adult person whereas earring (MO 12),
talisman (MO 13) and pair of anklets (MO 15) were on the dead body of the
child. These articles were identified by Kirodian (PW 3) and Amba (PW 5). They
testified that these articles were given to Chitravathi and Nalini by them. The
trial court succinctly discussed the evidence of PW 3 and PW 5 in a great
length and found the same to be trustworthy. The High Court has disbelieved the
evidence relating to the identity of these MOs on the ground that the same are
commonly used and found in the market and, therefore, from this evidence, the
identity of the dead bodies could not be said to have been conclusively
established. We are unable to subscribe to the doubt entertained by the High
Court in this behalf.
true that all these articles (MOs) are commonly used by the women folk but Amba
(PW 5) stood well during her croos-examination and asserted that these articles
were given to Chitravathi and Nalini by her. We, therefore, find that the High
Court was not right in setting aside the findings recorded by the trial court
as regards the identity of these MOs.
is true that the evidence of Dr. B.C. Chandra Gowda (PW 23) who held the
autopsy on the dead bodies is inconclusive as both the dead bodies were in a
highly decomposed condition and beyond recognition/identification.
the prosecution examined B. Raghavendra Rao (PW 12). Serologist, Forensic
Science Laboratory, Bangalore, who super imposed the skull
(Article 1) of an adult person and after examination of the skull and the
photographs, he opined that it was of an adult human female aged about 25 to 30
years. He further stated that there is certainty of about 90-95% in the
findings given by him. The defence cross-examined the witness at a great length
but thee is no material which could discredit his evidence.
is not and cannot be disputed that the two dead bodies were exhumed on 15th July, 1979. The evidence of Dr.
Chandra Gowda (PW 23), Kempegowda (PW 13), the investigating officer was quite
sufficient to conclude that the two dead bodies were exhumed on 14th July 1979
from the place pointed out by A-1. The High Court in our considered view was
not right in rejecting the prosecution evidence as regards the identity of the
two dead bodies being that of Chitravathi and Nalini.
Coming to the next circumstance that some time in August, 1978, Chitravathi and
Nalini came to Bangalore along with her father, mother and
brother who after leaving them at the house of A-1 at Chikkanna garden, left
regards the quarrels between Chitravathi and accused persons and ill treatment
meted out to the former, the prosecution relied upon the evidence of Kirodian
(PW 3) Amba (PW 5), N.Krishna (PW 16), Venkatgirappa (PW 18), Guruva (PW 19)
and Sarojamma (PW 20). The evidence of parents of Chitravathi indicates that
A-1 was staying with A-2 (mistress) since prior to the marriage of Chitravathi
with A-1 which fact was not known to them at the time of marriage. This fact
was first time came to their knowledge when Chitravathi went to Bangalore after
marriage along with a-1 and at that time, she found that A-2 was residing with
A-1 along with her children from her first husband.
(PW 3) and Amba (PW 5) testified that Chitravathi was complaining about the behaviour
and conduct of both the accused who were quarreling with her on one or the
other pretext. A-1 used to take side of A-2 and he was not providing any money
to her. Chitravathi was under mental trauma as A-2 was residing with A-1 in the
financial difficulties, Kirodian (PW 3) used to send money orders to Guruva Poojari
(PW 19) for her day to day expenses which eh used to pass on to her. Guruva Poojari
(PW 19) has supported this version of Amba (PW 5). Some money orders coupons
were also produced on record. This evidence, therefore, clearly establishes
that A-1 and A-2 were ill treating Chitravathi.
is also sufficient material on record in the form of evidence of Krishna (PW 16). Venkatgirappa (PW 18), Guruva
Poojari (PW 19) and Sarojamma (PW 20) who had stated that they were residing in
the nearby huts/houses and used to hear and see quarrels between Chitravathi,
A-1 and A-2, At times, A-1 used to say that he was fed up of quarrels between Chitravathi
and A-2. There is nothing in the cross- examination to disbelieve their
evidence. The trial court accepted the evidence of all these witnesses on the
issue of ill treatment and quarrels as trustworthy and for no statable reasons,
the High Court has discarded the same.
therefore, do not agree with the reversal finding of the High Court on this
The next circumstance, namely, motive to commit the murder of Chitravathi. The
same has to be inferred from the conduct of A-1 and A-2. Both the accused
wanted to get rid of Chitravathi for the obvious reasons that her stay in the
house at Chikkanna garden was a great nuisance to their illegitimate conduct.
Therefore, the evidence on record clearly proves the motive on the part of A-1
to get rid of Chitravathi so that he could stay with A-2 peacefully.
The evidence of Krishna (PW 16), Venkatgirappa (PW 18) and Sarojamma (PW 20)
who are the neighbours of A-1 in Chikkanna garden further proves that A-1 prior
to 12th January, 1979 had taken a job of a watchman and was staying in the
watchman shed in the compound of Sarvodaya School, Jainagar, Bangalore. A-1 was
staying with A-2 in that shed.
accommodation was provided to A-1 by the management for his services as a
Watchman. Siddaiah (PW 9) who is the Secretary of the School had testified that
A-1 was staying in a watchman shed along with A-2 and doing the job of
Watchman. This is significant because A-1 had left probably the frequent
quarrels between Chitravathi and A-2. This circumstance is also proved by the
Coming to the next most important circumstance as to what happened on 12th of
January, 1979. According to the prosecution on that day, A-1 came to Chikkanna
garden and took Chitravathi and Nalini at about 1.00 p.m. for a movie.
while going told Sulochana Amma (PW 21) who was in the hut that she was going
along with A-1 and Nalini to watch a movie. The evidence of Sulochana (PW 21)
is quite credible to prove the fact that on 12th January, 1979, A-1 took Chitravathi and Nalini at about 1.00 p.m. for movies.
happened thereafter was exclusively within the knowledge of A-1, A-1 has denied
that he took Chitravathi and Nalini on 12th January, 1979 but this denial has no meaning and
the same was rightly rejected by the trial court. This clinching circumstance,
therefore, shows that on 12th January, 1979, A-1 along with Chitravathi and Nalini
had left their house at Chikkanna Garden. Chitravathi and Nalini were thus last seen alive in the
company of A-1 on that day.
The evidence of Kempegowda (PW 13), Krishna (PW 16), Venkatgirappa (PW 18), Sarojamma (PW 20) and Sulochana (PW 21)
is quite consistent to prove that after 12th of January, 1979, A-1 Chitravathi
and Nalini did not return to their house. There is nothing in the
cross-examination of these witnesses which could make us disbelieve their
trial court accepted this evidence as trustworthy but the High Court has
erroneously discarded the evidence of these witnesses. We, therefore, hold that
on 12th of January, 1979 at about 1.00 p.m, A-1 took Chitravathi and Nalini along with him for watching a movie
and thereafter Chitravathi did not return to the house in Chikkanna Garden.
evidence of Guruva Poojari (PW 19) also supports the fact that Chitravathi did
not return to the house at Chikkanna Garden after 12th January, 1979 until the
investigating agency exhumed the dead bodies on 14th July, 1979, Guruva Poojari
(PW 19) has testified that on 15th May, 1979, on receipt of the money order
from Kirodian (PW 3) for Chitravathi, he went to the house of Chitravathi but
it was found locked and after making inquiries, he was told by the neighbours
that she had not returned to the house after they went for movie on 12th
January, 1979. Guruva Poojari (PW 19), therefore, returned the money order to Kirodian
corroborate the vital circumstance that Chitravathi and Nalini were last seen
together in the company of A-1 on 12th January, 1979, the prosecution has examined Siddaiah
(PW 9), the Secretary of the School. he stated that he noticed A-1 was coming
with a woman and a child to the watchman shed which was occupied by him within
the school compound. When he asked him as to who she was, A-1 told that she was
his wife. The evidence of Siddaiah (PW 9) further shows that a few days prior
to 12th January, 1979, A-1 was digging a pit by the side of his watchman shed
and when it was enquired from him, he told that the same was being prepared for
dumping the rubbish. As per the spot panchanama (Ex.P2), the size of pit was
fairly good and was 3' to 4' deep. A-1 was arrested on 13th July, 1979 and
while in custody, he made a disclosure statement. It is not disputed that such
a statement is admissible under Section 27 of the Evidence Act which led to the
discovery of the dead bodies from the pit. The Investigating Officer obtained
the necessary permission from the District Magistrate to exhume the dead bodies.
A requisition was sent to Dr. B.C. Chandra Gowda (PW 23) to hold the post
mortem at the spot. The dead bodies were exhumed pursuant to the statement of
A-1 in the presence of panch witnesses and Dr. B.C. Chandra Gowda (PW 23). The
post mortem was carried out by Dr. B.C.Chandra Gowda (PW 23) on the spot
itself. This evidence, therefore, clearly establishes that the two dead bodies
were exhumed on 14th July, 1979 but they were in a totally decomposed condition
and were not identifiable. The clothes and other articles found on the dead
bodies were seized under the separate panchanamas. A specific question was put
to accused in this behalf during recording their statements under Section 313 Cr.P.C.
They, however, denied their involvement. On the basis of this evidence, we can
safely conclude that the two dead bodies were exhumed on 14th July, 1979
pursuant to the statement made by A-1 which was admissible under Section 27 of
the Evidence Act.
Preceding the exhumation of the dead bodies, Kirodian (PW 3) has stated that
when he received an information from Guruva Poojari (PW 19) that Chitravathi
was not found at her house in Chikkanna Garden Kirodian suspected some foul
play and came to Bangalore on 25th May, 1979. He made inquiries with the neighbours
any relatives but nobody could give any information as regard the whereabouts
of Chitravathi and Nalini. On 3rd June, 1979, he lodged a missing report. The
investigating officer despite his efforts could not get any clue. Search of
both the accused was found futile as they were absconding. Siddaiah (PW 9) also
stated that A-1 had left the watchman shed and his whereabouts were not known.
on 13th July, 1979, A-1 came to be arrested and during interrogation, he
pointed out the place from where the dead bodies were exhumed. Kirodian (PW 3)
then lodged the First Information Report under Sections 302, 1201/34 of the
Indian Penal Code against both the accused. A-2 was arrested on 1st August,
1079. The trial court accepted the evidence of Kirodian (PW 3) and P.V. Kowri
(PW 27), investigating officer and came to the conclusion that after January
12, 1979, both the accused were absconding. Dr.
Gowda (PW 23) has stated in his evidence that deaths might have occurred four
to six months earlier.
was no effective cross-examination in this behalf.
High Court has failed to appreciate the evidence in this behalf in proper
perspective and has fallen into error while disbelieving the prosecution story.
The last circumstance which was pressed into service by the prosecution is the abscontion
of A-1 and A-2. To prove this circumstance, prosecution relied upon the
evidence of Siddaiah (PW 9), the School secretary who had stated that both the
accused had left the watchman shed few months prior to 14th July, 1979 without
informing anybody. The evidence of P.V.Kowri (PW 27), the investigating officer
also confirms the fact that both the accused despite their best efforts could
not be traced at their known places. This circumstance, in our opinion, is
again very important link to show their guilty mind.
The trial court on the careful scrutiny of the oral and documentary evidence on
record held that the prosecution has successfully established beyond every
reasonable doubt that A-1 was responsible for causing the death of Chitravathi
and Nalini and was also responsible for having caused disappearance of evidence
of murder of Chitravathi and Nalini. Consistent with his findings, the trial
court vide its judgment dated 12th November, 1980 convicted A-1 under Section
302 IPC and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment and for an offence
punishable under Section 201 IPC, sentenced him to suffer RI for seven years.
Both sentences were ordered to run concurrently. A-1 filed an appeal against
his order of conviction and sentence whereas State of Karnataka filed appeal
against the order of acquittal of A-2. The High Court of Karnataka by its
common judgment dated 17th January, 1983, allowed the appeal filed by A-1 and
acquitted him of all the charges and also confirmed the order of acquittal of
A-2. Both the courts below have acquitted A-2 of all the charges. In our
considered view, the order of acquittal of A-2 needs no interference.
For the foregoing conclusions, we set aside the order of acquittal in respect of
Bhoja Poojari (A-1) passed by the High Court vide its common judgment dated
17th January, 1983 in Criminal Appeal No. 349 of 1981 and restore the order of
conviction and sentence dated 12th November, 1980 passed by the IInd Addl.
Sessions Judge, Metropolitan Area.
City in Sessions Judge, Metropolitan Area, Bangalore City in Sessions Case No.
40 of 1979. The appeal filed by the State of Karnataka against the order of
acquittal dated 17th January. 1983 passed by the High Court in Criminal Appeal
No. 350 of 1981 in respect of A-2 is dismissed. The appeal filed by the State
of Karnataka for enhancing the sentence of A-1 is also dismissed. Bhoja Poojari
(A-1) if on bail, shall surrender to his bailbonds to serve out the remaining
part of his sentence .