Krishnamoorthy & Anr Vs. State by Inspector of Police & Ors  Insc 235 (1
Tarun Chatterjee & R. V. Raveendran
This appeal is preferred by Accused 3 & 4 against the judgment dated
17.6.2004 of the Madras High Court dismissing Criminal Appeal No. 273 of 2001
filed by accused 1 to 4 against the judgment dated 28.2.2001 passed by the
Addl. Sessions Judge, Vellore in Sessions Case No. 187 of 1998.
2. The prosecution case in brief is that the deceased Dhanabagyam, a
resident of Thippasamudram Village, went to her groundnut field on 5.10.1996.
Mahadevan (PW-2) who was doing some work in a nearby field heard some noise in
Dhanabagyam's field and saw A-1 (Vijayan) running from that field. PW-6
(Manavalan) who also belonged to Thippasamudram village, while going towards
Kuchipalyam on a bicycle at about 12 Noon, saw two persons, each holding a
stone running from east to west. He also saw two others running from West to
East. At that time, he did not know that any mishap had occurred. At about 2.30 p.m., Suresh Kumar (PW-1), son of the deceased, went to the field with food for his
mother. As he did not find her, he shouted her name and searched for her. As he
could not find her, he came back to the house and searched for her. Thereafter
around 4 to 4.30 p.m., he went back to the field along with one Padma (who was
from the neighbouring field) and again searched for her mother. Then he found
his mother lying dead on her back in the portion of the field containing some
Toor (Thuvarai) plants. He noticed head injuries and blood oozing out. He also
noticed that her Mangalsutra and ear-rings were missing. The bruise marks
caused by snatching/pulling the Mangalsutra were visible on her neck and her
ear was torn. He informed the incident to the villagers and thereafter the
Pallikonda Police Station. On the strength of the complaint (Ex.P.1), the
Inspector of Police, Pallikonda - Jothimani (PW-13) registered the First
Information Report and took up investigation. In the presence of PW-3 and Subramani,
he prepared an observation mahazar Ex.P.2 and rough sketch (Ex.P.22). Inquest
Report was prepared as per Ex.P.31 and statements of some witnesses were also
recorded. In the meanwhile, at about 5 p.m., while returning to the village,
PW-6 learnt about the incident and saw the body.
PW-6 went to Bangalore on the same day, and returned after four days and was
questioned by the police. He told them about the four persons he saw on the day
of the incident near the field of the deceased and that he knew them as they
were from the neighbouring village.
3. Dr. Chandra (PW-8) attached to Government Hospital , Vellore, performed
autopsy on the dead body on 6.10.1996 and recorded the following injuries on
the body of Dhanabagyam : - (1) A lacerated bone deep wound extending from the
left parietal region upto the right ear - 15 cm x 2.3 cm.
(2) A lacerated bone-deep wound over the occipital region on the left side 4
cm x 2 cm.
(3) A lacerated wound on the left side of the neck 4 cm x 1 cm.
(4) A lacerated wound on the back of the left ear 2 cm x 1 cm.
(5) Multiple irregular wounds on both the earlobes.
(6) Ligature mark 3 mm breadth around the neck with small multiple irregular
abrasions over the back of the neck and contusion of the tissues underneath.
Thyroid bone normal.
He also found blood clots present beneath the scalp and a linear fracture
2.5 cms over the left parietal bone; and on opening the skull, he found blood
clots over the surface. PW-13 issued a post-mortem certificate (Ex.P.18) and
opined that Dhanabhagyam had died of shock and haemorrhage due to head
4. On 9.10.1996, PW-13 examined PW.1 and recorded his statement in regard to
the details of the missing jewels that is 'Mangalasutra' (with one golden
piece, one pair of gold quarter coins and four silver coins) and ear studs. On
8.12.1996, A-3 surrendered before Venkatesan -- Village Administrative Officer,
North Virinjipuram (PW-4) and made an extra- judicial confession that he and
other accused robbed Dhanabagyam and killed her and shared the jewels. PW-4
recorded the said confession (Ex.P.4) and produced A-3 before the Inspector of
Police (PW-13). A-3 produced four silver coins (MO2). PW-13 recovered the
silver coins under mahazar Ex.P6 and recorded his confession. Ex.P.33 is the admissible
portion of the confessional statement of A-3.
5. Thereafter, on the information furnished by A-3, PW-13 and PW-4 along
with A-3 went for recovering the stones used in the offence. On the way, A-3
identified A-1 and A-4 near the Forest Check Post, who were arrested by PW-13.
A-1 and A-4 gave confessional statements voluntarily which were recorded as per
Ex. P4 and P8 respectively. In pursuance of it, they were taken to their
houses. A-1 produced the ear studs (MO3), which was recovered under mahazar
Ex.P.10. A-4 produced the two gold coins (MO.4) from his house which were
recovered under a mahazar Ex.P.11. At about 2 p.m., A-1, A-3 and A-4 identified
A-2 who was arrested by PW-13.
A-2 also gave a confessional statement voluntarily and admissible portion
thereof was marked as Ex.P.9. A-2 produced the Mangalsutra Golden attachment
(MO1) which was recovered by PW-13 under Ex. P-12. A-2 and A-3 also showed the
stones (MO.7 and MO.8) used by them against the deceased from near a
cinema-theatre which was recovered under mahazars -- (Ex.P.13 and P.14).
6. On 27.12.1996, M. Vijayan, Judicial Magistrate (PW-7) conducted test
identification parade in which PW-2 and PW-6 identified the accused.
On 13.12.1996, PW-1 and one Doraiswamy identified MOs. 1 to 4 recovered from
the accused. PW-14 the successor of PW-13 took up further investigation and
recorded the statements of some more persons. A final report was filed under
section 302 read with 34 and 392 read with 397 IPC against all the four
7. The prosecution examined PW-1 to PW-14, marked Ex. P1 to P33 and
exhibited MOS.1 to 13. On completion of evidence, the statements of A-1 to A-4
were recorded under section 313 Cr.PC. Accused did not examine any witnesses
but marked Exs.D1 and D2. The trial court by judgment dated 28.2.2001 found all
the accused guilty and convicted them. It held that A-2 and A-3 attacked the
deceased with stones and all four accused participated in the robbery. The
trial court convicted A-2 and A-3 under section 302 IPC and section 392 read
with 397 IPC and sentenced them to life imprisonment under section 302, and 7
years RI under Section 392 read with 397 IPC, in addition to fine. The trial
court also convicted A-1 and A-4 under section 302 read with 34 IPC and section
392 IPC, and sentenced them to life imprisonment under section 302 read with
section 34, and 5 years RI under section 392 apart from fine. All the four
accused appealed and the High Court dismissed the appeal affirming the decision
of the trial court. Feeling aggrieved, A-3 and A-4 (Krishnamoorthy and Murugan)
have filed this appeal by special leave.
8. The trial court has considered and analysized the evidence exhaustively.
The High Court has also examined the evidence in detail.
There are no eye-witnesses to the crime. The case against the accused solely
rests on circumstantial evidence. The trial court and High Court held that the
evidence shows a complete unbroken chain of circumstances unerringly leading to
an inescapable conclusion that the accused 1 to 4 had committed the crime. The
circumstances were :- (a) The dead body of Dhanabagyam being found in the field
with head injuries, her jewels having been robbed.
(b) The ligature marks around the neck with multiple irregular abrasions
showed that her Mangalsutra had been snatched from her neck. The
abrasions/tearing of the earlobes showed her ear-studs being robbed. Her head
injuries made it clear that she had died of homicidal violence.
(c) All the accused were last seen near the filed of the deceased (scene of
occurrence) by PW-6 and one of the accused was also seen near the field by
PW-2. The accused were identified in the test identification parade conducted
by PW-7 (Judicial Magistrate).
(d) On the information furnished by PW-2 and PW-6 who knew the accused the
police were searching for the accused who belonged to a nearby village. As a
consequence of the pressure built on account of such search, A-3 surrendered
before PW-4 and gave an extra- judicial confession. On his identification, A-1
and A-4 were also arrested and they also gave their voluntary confessional
statements and on their information, A-3 was also arrested and he also gave his
voluntary confessional statement.
(e) On information furnished by the accused, the stones used in the murder
and jewels robbed from the deceased were recovered, which were identified by
PW-1 (son of the deceased).
9. From this chain of circumstances, both courts have held that only
possible conclusion is that A-1 to 1-4 had committed the murder of the
deceased. Though the confessions made to Police are to be excluded and though
extra-judicial confession to others in its very nature, is a weak piece of
evidence, when examined with reference to the other proved circumstances, and
the recoveries made on the information furnished by the accused, the guilt of
the accused stood established. We find no infirmity in the reasoning or
conclusions of the trial court or the High Court.
10. The main contention urged by the learned counsel for the appellants (A-3
and A-4) is that there is no direct evidence to connect them with the incident
and the offence. As noticed above, the prosecution case is not based on direct
evidence of eye-witnesses but purely on circumstantial evidence.
The accused 3 and 4 as also the other two accused, are linked to the offence
by their being sighted in the field of the deceased on the day of the incident
and on account of the recovery of the jewels of the deceased as also recovery
of the stones used for committing the offence, on the information furnished by
11. Learned counsel for the appellants next contended that the question of
PW-2 identifying all four accused did not arise. She pointed out that PW-2 had
stated in his examination-in-chief that on the day of the incident, he only saw
A-1 (Vijayan) running away from the field of the deceased. In his cross-
examination, he admitted that even in his statement under section 161 Cr.PC, he
had stated that he had seen only Vijayan (A-1) running away. It is true that if
PW-2 had seen only A1 near the scene of incident, the question of his
identifying all the four accused in the test identification parade is
unexplained. But the fact remains that PW-6 has clearly stated that he saw all
the four accused on the date of the incident running from the field of deceased
and he had informed the police that he had seen them on the date of the
incident. He also identified them in the test identification parade.
Therefore, the discrepancy in the evidence of PW-2 by itself, will not
affect the case of the prosecution. Nor is it sufficient to displace the chain
of irrefutable inferences flowing from the chain of circumstances established
12. The learned counsel for the appellants lastly contended that PW-1 son of
the deceased had not given description of the jewels in the FIR. As rightly
noted by the High Court, PW-1 who found the dead body of his mother, ran to the
police station and reported the death and the fact that the jewels were
missing. The mere fact that he did not refer to the jewels in detail in the
FIR, will not in any way affect the identification of the jewellery seized from
the accused as those belonging to his mother. A faint attempt was made to
contend that the jewels were not of such great value as to lead to murder. It
is submitted that the accused were falsely implicated. It is not possible to
say that unless the jewels are of a particular value, robbery and murder would
not be committed. There is also no apparent reason for the Police to falsely
implicate the accused.
13. No other contention is urged. We find no reason to interfere with the
judgment of the High Court affirming the well reasoned judgment of the trial
court. The appeal is accordingly dismissed.