Alistair & Ors Vs.
State of Tamil Nadu  INSC 211 (5 February 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.513 OF 1996
ALISTAIR & ORS Appellant (s) VERSUS STATE OF TAMIL NADU Respondent(s) WITH CRIMINAL
APPEAL NO.663 OF 1996 ANTONY MARTIN & ANR Appellant (s) VERSUS STATE OF
TAMIL NADU Respondent(s)
These two appeals
were filed against the judgment of the Designated Court NO.II, Madras (now
Chennai) under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987
(hereinafter referred to as 'TADA Act'). The present six appellants were tried
for the offences punishable under Sections 451, 381 read with 120-B of the
Indian Penal Code and under Section 3(3) of TADA (P) Act. These appellants were
acquitted of the offence under T.A.D.A. but they were found guilty of offences
under Sections 451 and 381 read with Section 120-B of I.P.C. On both these
counts, they were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of
three years each and the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
These appellants were
employees of Halliburton Offshore Services Inc. Company. They were carrying out
the 2 contract of offshore logging under the O.N.G.C. There was some dispute
between the employees and the management over the transfer of A-1 to Bombay
office and the appellants allege that PW 1, who was the Operations Manager of
the company, was inimically having disputes towards these accused. The company
was in possession of certain radio active resources to find out the resource of
natural gas. The allegation against these appellants is that they have
unlawfully trespassed into the workshop of the company and took away three
radio active resources and thereby committed the offences as charged. On 23rd September,
1993 these radio active resources were found missing from the office premises.
On 24th September, 1993 PW 1 gave a complaint before the Station House Officer,
Maduravayal police station. The Sub- Inspector of Police -PW 20 took up the
investigation and these appellants were arrested thereafter. Later on the
investigation was handed over to the C.B.C.I.D. and PW 26-Inspector of Police
took over the investigation and he filed a report before the Court invoking the
provisions of the TADA Act. The Superintendent of Police recorded the
confessional statement the appellants 2,3 and 4 and pursuant to the
confessions, certain recoveries were also effected and the three radio active
resources were recovered and later on the final report was filed in the case.
On behalf of the prosecution, 26 witnesses have been examined. The appellants
were found guilty on the basis of their confessions and also the recovery made
pursuant to the statements made by the accused.
Heard both sides.
Learned counsel for
the appellants contended that the materials adduced by the prosecution are not
sufficient to find the appellants guilty.
We do not find any
force in the contention and the Designated Judge was justified in holding that
the appellants had committed the offence and therefore, we confirm the
Though the articles
so stolen were of serious nature but there is no case that these appellants had
any ulterior motive except to cause some nuisance to the employer. It appears
that due to transfer of A-1 to Bombay they had some grievance against the
management. There is also no evidence to show that these appellants had stored
the articles for the purpose of gaining any financial benefit nor did they make
any attempt to sell away these articles to some others. We are told that the
appellants have already undergone the sentence for more than 1 year and 9
months. Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we feel that
the period of imprisonment already undergone by the appellants is sufficient to
meet the ends of justice. Therefore, we confirm the conviction but reduce the
sentence to the period already undergone. The appellants are on bail and their
bail bonds are discharged.
The appeals are
disposed of accordingly.