Kumar Vs. Ravi Virmani & Anr  Insc 56 (1 February 2002)
C. Banerjee & K.G. Balakrishnan
Crl.A.No.929-930/2000 and Crl.A.No.931/2000
appellant in Criminal Appeal No.931/2000 faced trial along with his father Hari
Chand before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Faridabad under Sections 302, 452, 386 and
324 IPC in Sessions Case No.3 of 1996. The learned Sessions Judge whereas
recorded a finding of guilt as against Ravi Virmani under Sections 452, 324 and
302 IPC and sentenced him to death under Section 302 IPC and for a period of
imprisonment already undergone by him under Sections 452 and 324 IPC. The
learned Judge, however, acquitted Hari Chand, the father of the present
appellant being, the other accused.
the death reference came up before the High Court for confirmation and by a
detailed Judgment, the High Court, however, upon a consideration of the
materials declined the death reference and modified it to life imprisonment
under Section 302 IPC and the appellant herein (Ravi Virmani), however,
aggrieved thereby moved this Court in appeal against the Order of conviction
and sentence. Complainant, Deepak Kumar, has also moved this Court in appeal
against the modification of sentence and thus is the appellant in Criminal
Appeals No. 927 and 928 of 2000. State of Haryana has also preferred an appeal against the Order of acquittal of Hari Chand
as also the modification of sentence in Criminal Appeals No.929 and 930 of
2000. All these appeals, since directed against the same Judgment, stand
consolidated and being disposed of by a common Judgment as more fully discussed
facts depict the gruesome murder of four persons : the father aged 50 years,
the mother aged 45-46 years, the wife aged 25-26 years and the brother aged
24-25 years of the appellant Deepak Kumar (in Criminal Appeals No.927-928 of
2000) : the prosecutor alleged Ravi Virmani is the murderer : date of
occurrence being 8th January, 1996 at about 8.15 p.m. and the place of occurrence
being the residence of the victims. The prosecutor's definite evidence is that
one part of hacksaw blade was used and the other part was recovered on the
basis of a disclosure statement said to have been effected after three days.
Fortunately, a three months' old child, however, was safe. It has been the
prosecutor's case throughout that whereas three persons, namely, the father,
the mother and the wife had an instantaneous death, the brother survived for
some time and died shortly thereafter. Mr.Sushil Kumar, the learned Senior
Advocate appearing in support of the appeal of the State contended that two
brothers, who were not in the house, namely, Deepak (being the appellant in the
other appeal) and Sanjay had a providential escape and in the event the accused
is let off, he would not only be a menace but a danger to Deepak and other
members of the family society cannot and ought not to be submitted. Mr. Sushil
Kumar accept such an offender back into the society, therefore, the High Court
was wrong in the modification of the sentence from death penalty to life
imprisonment : we shall deal with the issue in detail in this Judgment but
presently two other incidental facts may be noticed, the first being recovery
of blood stained clothes from the body of the accused and secondly it is strong
piece of evidence, which according to Mr.Sushil Kumar, stand un-contradicted to
the effect that the accused left his car at a distance and came to the place of
occurrence on a rickshaw this piece of evidence stands highlighted to emphasis
the deliberate motive and the intent to commit the offence of murder.
narration above has given us the details of the persons, who suffered an
unfortunate end in a very gruesome way : the body of the father was found in
the drawing room in a pool of blood whereas that of the mother and wife were
found in one of the bed rooms and that of the brother, though not dead at that
point of time, was also found in the same room along with the mother and the
sister-in-law and as noticed above a three months' old child escaped the wrath
of the murderer. The prosecution sought to prove before the trial Judge that Ravi
Virmani has been the murderer and to bring home the charge, examined eight
witnesses of which three are doctors (PWs 1,3 and 7), one was the draftsman for
drafting the site plan (PW-4) : one photographer (PW-5), the investigating
officer and the two brothers Deepak and Sanjay (PWs 2 and 6 respectively).
also at this juncture note the observations of the High Court in the matter of
modification of sentence from death penalty to that of life imprisonment. The
High Court observed as below:
we find that despite killing the four deceased, appellant Ravi Virmani did not
even cause any injury to the three months' old child of PW-2, even though he
had the opportunity and the time to do so, but of course no motive to do so.
is one of the mitigating circumstances against him. But after killing the four
persons, he had to escape and before he could do so, PW-2 had come there and
knocked the door. Therefore, appellant Ravi Virmani had used the child only as
a shield or even a weapon to save himself. Even when he was confronted by PW-2
and then by PW-6 appellant did not kill the child. This shows that the feelings
of sympathy had not completely dried up in him.
also find from the evidence that after the occurrence he was found to talk
irrelevantly. All these go to show that something had suddenly happened or
something he had seen or discovered which led to the commission of the crime.
Of course, he had gone to the house of the complainant with the hacksaw blade
but still, in view of the fact that none had seen the occurrence actually, one
cannot be sure whether he wanted to kill one or more or all of them. Naturally
when he wanted to escape, he had to cause three injuries to PW-2 and one injury
to PW-6, but they are not of serious nature. It has been shown by the defence
that he is an educated person and has even donated blood while in prison. It
has not been shown by the prosecution that he is such a dangerous or desperate
person who will prove to be a menace to the society so as to invite the extreme
penalty of death. The fact that he had been talking irrelevant after the
occurrence, though may not amount to a mentally derangement, it shows that he
has been mentally shaken by what had happened. This shows that he cannot be
equated with the category of hardened criminals, whose conduct and behaviour
after the occurrence would not be remorseful. Therefore, taking into
consideration the aggravating as well as mitigating circumstances, we are of
the view that this is not one of the rarest of rare cases where the appellant Ravi
Virmani should be awarded death penalty.
analysis of the entire materials we are of the view that the murder reference
has to be declined and the death penalty awarded to him has to be modified.
the murder reference is declined and the death sentence awarded to appellant Ravi
Virmani is set aside/modified. He is sentenced to life imprisonment under
Section 302 IPC." It is at this juncture the case of the prosecution ought
to be noticed and the same runs as below:
8.1.1996 at about 8 p.m. Deepak Kumar returned to his house after paying
obeisance in the temples and Gurdwara, found the door of his house closed from
inside, knocked at the door several times, but there was no response from
inside. Deepak Kumar peeped through the glass pane fitted near the door and saw
the body of his father lying smeared with blood and also blood lying in considerable
quantity on the floor.
Kumar knocked the door with force on which appellant Ravi Virmani, came towards
the door carrying the three months' old-child of Deepak Kumar in one hand and a
long knife in the other hand. Appellant Ravi Virmani opened the latch fitted
inside the door and Deepak Kumar entered crying loudly "Ravi what have you done". Ravi Virmani again bolted
the door from inside and demanded a sum of Rs.5 lakhs from Deepak Kumar
pointing the knife towards the son of Deepak Kumar and threatening that he will
kill child if Deepak Kumar did not pay the money. At that time while Sanjay,
the younger brother of Deepak Kumar started knocking at the door, the
complainant Deepak Kumar was grappling with appellant Ravi Virmani. His child
fell on the ground from the hand of Ravi Virmani.
on seeing all this, pushed the door forcibly and the bolt of the door was
broken. Sanjay also came inside, but by that time Ravi Virmani had inflicted
injuries with the knife on the face and head of complainant Deepak Kumar.
Complainant Deepak Kumar also received injury on his left leg when he was
who had come inside, snatched the dagger type hacksaw blade from the right hand
of Ravi Virmani to save the life of Deepak Kumar. At that time Deepak Kumar
came to the Gate and shouted "Mar Diya Mar Diya". Then Ravi Virmani
inflicted injuries on the mouth of Sanjay and ran away after getting himself
freed from Sanjay.
hearing the noise raised by Deepak Kumar, Sukh Dayal Madan, resident of Pakistani
Colony, Faridabad, arrived in the Porch in front of
the house, and caught hold of Ravi Virmani who was going out through the Porch.
Kumar and Sanjay went inside the room and found their mother Shashi Lakhani, Varsha
Lakhani (wife of Deepak Kumar) lying dead and their brother - Sunil Lakhani
lying seriously injured in a pool of blood. Their father Om Parkash was also
lying dead besmeared with blood. Immediately Deepak Kumar informed the Police
Control Room by phone.
emphasised that the shops of Ravi Virmani and that of the complainant are
situate side by side and Ravi Virmani was having a doubt that the complainant
was winning over his customers and ruining his business, due to which he was
nursing a grudge against the complainant and used to protest to the complainant
in that regard that is why Ravi Virmani had murdered Shashi Lakhani, Varsha Lakhani
and Om Parkash Lakhani and had also caused serious injuries to Sunil, who had
been removed to the Hospital and died.
receiving information from the Police Control Room, the S.H.O. of Police
Station NIT Faridabad, reached the spot, to whom Ravi Virmani along with the
blood-stained weapon was handed over.
statement of Deepak Kumar was recorded by S.H.O. Niadar Singh, and completed at
the spot itself at 8-50 p.m. on 8.1.1996. The formal F.I.R. was registered at 9.15 p.m. on the same day and the F.I.R. reached the Chief
Judicial Magistrate, Faridabad, at 11 p.m. on 8.1.1996 itself.
noticed herein before, the prosecution examined eight witnesses including the
investigating officer and three doctors before, however, having a look at the
evidence tendered before the Court and its appreciation by the learned Sessions
Judge as also by the High Court, statement under Section 313 Cr.P.C. of the accused
needs to be looked into and considered.
questioned under Section 313 Cr.P.C. accused appellant Ravi Virmani, apart from
generally denying the allegations and pleading false implication stated that
they had good relations with the family of Om Parkash Lakhani, with whom they
had no business rivalry. He also stated that Sunil was his classmate and they
were intimate. According to him, on 8.1.1996 he closed his shop-M/s Virmani
Enterprises and at about 8
p.m. went to the Gurdwara,
after parking his car. After paying homage at the Gurdwara, when he returned,
his car did not start, so, he hired a rickshaw for Tikona Park to bring a Mechanic. It was 8.30 p.m. and there he heard about the murder of Varsha and Sunil.
So, he went to their house and charged Deepak as being instrumental for the
same, after which Sanjay and Deepak assaulted him (Ravi Virmani). Meanwhile the
police came and detained him for interrogation, but on the Morning of 9.1.1996,
made him the accused. Ravi Virmani, however, stated that he neither made a
disclosure statement nor any article was recovered at his instance and claimed
false implication in the instance of one A.C. Choudhary, a Minister in the
State of Haryana.
learned Sessions Judge while passing an Order of death penalty as against Ravi Virmani
but acquitted the other accused Hari Chand, being the father of Ravi Virmani by
reason of non- availability of proper evidence and material.
noticed herein before, three doctors were examined in the matter the first
being Dr.V.R.Gupta, (PW-1) Medical Officer, Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, who
happened to examine both Deepak Kumar and Sanjay on 8th January, 1996. The
testimony records the nature of injury as follows:
patient brought with alleged history of hit by some sharp edged object at his
to usd. injury at GLW over left partial region 1(x) cm.
Abrasion over right sign of neck.
There was swelling over the left knee." The testimony further recorded
injuries of Sanjay as below:
patient was brought and alleged history of hit by one by sharp edged object.
The patient had a CLOW over nose (bridge) ½ cm on bridge of nose.
aid treatment was given. The injury was caused by sharp edged weapon. Ex. is
the photostat copy of the MLR." Dr.A.K.Gupta (PW-3) conducted a postmortem
examination on the body of the deceased Varsha and found 13 specific injuries
Six incised wounds of sizes 6.0 x 0.5 cm each coronally inflicted on occipital
region of scalp.
wounds were muscle deep.
Incised wound 4.0 x 1.0 cm on left frontal region of scalp. On further
dissection the underlying bone was out into pieces with brain matter injured.
blood was present in cranial cavity (3) Incised wound 4.0 x 1.0 cm muscle deep
on left temporal region of scalp.
Six incised wounds of sizes 2.5 x 1.0 cm to
1.5 cm on face. The root of nose and nasal bones were fractured.
Six incised wounds of sizes 2.0 x 0.5 cm each on left side of hip joint and
lateral aspect of left thigh upper third part.
Incised wound 0.5 x 0.5 cm on left side of back of chest. 7.0 cm from mid line
in fifth intercostal space. On further dissection the wound was going downward
and medially, piercing the lower lob of left lung through size 0.5 x 0.3 cm and
reaching the left atrial cavity with wound in left strium 0.5 x 0.5 cm.
Incised wound 0.5 x 0.5 cm on left side of back of chest 6.0 cm below injury
no. six. On further dissection the wound peirced the left lower lob 0.5 x 0.5
cm. Fluid blood was present in the left pleural cavity and pericardium.
Incised wound 5.0 x 3.0 cm with fracture of underlying bones on posterior
aspect of left hand in its lateral half part.
Incised wound 5.0 x 3.0 cm with underlying bones fractured on base of left
thumb area on posterior aspect.
Incised wound 1.0 x 0.5 cm muscle deep on posterior aspect of left forearm in
its middle third part.
Incised wound 1.0 x 0.5 cm skin deep on back of left elbow joint.
Incised wound 3.0 x 1.0 cm muscle deep on front of right knee.
Incised wound 5.0 x 2.0 cm on front of right leg in upper third part.
Underlying tibia bone was fractured.
the other organs were pale and stomach contained about 100 CC of semi-digested
food and gases." Dr. A.K.Gupta (PW-3) also conducted the postmortem
examination on the body of the deceased Om Parkash (being father of Deepak)
aged about 50 years and found 10 injuries as below:
Incised wound 12.0 x 3.0 cm on right occipital region of scalp. On further
dissection the underlying bone was cut with injury in the brain matter. Fluid
blood was present in cranial cavity.
Multiple incised wounds of size as 2.5 x 1.0 cm to 6.0 x 2.0 cm on left temper
parietal region of scalp, mid parietal and frontal region of scalp. The wounds
were in form of criss cross snape underlying bones were fractured with injury
to brain matter.
Multiple incised wounds more than 20 in number in criss cross manner on face,
forehead, nose. There were fractures of nasal bone, right and left mondibless.
Clotted blood was present.
Incised wound 6.0 x 3.0 cm on front of neck at level of right thyroid. The
wound was skin deep.
Incised wound 6.0 x 3.0 cm on front of left forearm in its anterior lateral
part in middle third area. The wound was muscle deep.
Incised wound 5.0 x 3.5 cm on front of left wrist. Muscles were cut and bones
Incised wound 3.0 x 1.0 cm on lateral aspect of left leg in middle third part.
The wound was skin deep.
Incised wound 3.0 x 0.5 cm on right palm.
metacarple bone was cut.
wound 4.0 x 2.0 cm confront of right forearm lover third part. The underlyings
both bones were cut.
Incised wound 5.0 x 1.0 cm at base of right thumb, muscles cut, bone was
internal dragons were pale.
contained about 100 CC of semi digested food and gases. Large vessels and heart
left side of heart was empty while right side contained dark fluid blood.
cause of death in this in our opinion was shock and haemorrhage and injuries to
vital organ i.e. brain.
the injuries were antemortem in nature and were sufficient to cause death in
ordinary course of events of life." The postmortem examination was also effected
by Dr.Gupta on the body of Sunil aged about 25 years and there were found 16
injuries details of which are as below:
Cut wound 10.0 x 8.0 cm on left temporo parieto occipital region of scalp.
Multiple skull bone pieces cut in between in criss cross manner.
brain matter was cut with fluid blood in cranial cavity.
Two incised wounds of sizes 6.0 x 1.5 cm each on right and left frontal region
of scalp one each. Clotted blood was present, muscles cut and bones.
Incised wound 5.0 x 1.0 cm muscles visible on right eye brow area.
Multiple incised wounds of sizes 2.5 x 1.0 cm to 6.0 x 1.0 cm on right side of
cheek, both lips and mendible area. Underlying right maxillary and mandibular
area were fractured.
Incised wounds 0.5 x 0.5 cm skin deep on left side of back of chest 4.0 cm
lateral to mid line at level of 4th rib.
Incised wound 0.5 x 0.5 cm skin deep on left scapular region of back 10.0 cm
from mid line.
Incised wound 0.5 x 0.5 cm on left side of back of chest 6.0 cm from mid line
in 6th intercostal space. On further dissection the wound was directed downward
and laterally and pierces the middle lob of left lung with fluid blood was
present in the left pleural cavity.
Six incised wounds of sizes 1.5 x 0.1 cm to 1.0 x 1.0 cm size on back of left
Incised wound 6.0 x 3.0 cm on medical surface of left forearm in its lower
Incised wound 8.0 x 6.0 cm size on back of left wrist. The underlying bones
were cut into pieces in thrise cross manner.
Multiple incised wound on back of left hand skin deep.
Incised wound 6.0 x 1.0 cm. muscle cut on left palm.
Three incised wounds of sizes 2.0 x 1.0 cm.
1.0 cm 3.0 x 2.0 cm each skin deep on back of left leg in its lower third part.
Incised wound 6.0 x 3.0 cm on back of right thumb and wrist musscless and
tendon were cut.
Two incised wounds of sizes 3.5 x 1. cm and 2.5 x 1.0 cm on back of right hand
All right hand fingers were cut at level of termination phalanx." Records
also depict that Dr. Gupta while conducting the postmortem examination on the
body of Shashi (Deepak's mother) found 11 injuries on the body of the deceased
Cut wound 14.0 x 8.0 cm on left parieto occipital region of scalp lateral to
mid line. In the wound multiple skull bone pieces were present cut in criss
cross manner underlying brain matter was cut with fluid blood oozing and
present in cranial cavity.
Incised wound 6.0 x 2.0 cm on right side of forehead, eye brow and cheek. Right
eye was cut.
skull bone and maceillary bones were cut with injuries to brain matter.
Incised wound 5.0 x 2.0 cm on left eye area.
eye was cut.
Multiple incised wound more than twenty in number on left side of forehead,
left cheek, nose, left medifular area and mid line of chin, the wounds were in criss
cross manner. Nasal bones, left maxillary bones and mandible were fractured.
Seven incised wounds of sizes 1.0 x 1.0 cm each skin deep on left side of front
Two incised wounds of sizes 1.0 x 0.5 cm skin deep on left side of abdomen.
Incised wound 8.0 x 3.0 cm on back of left wrist and lower part of left
forearm, underlying bones were cut and muscles were also cut.
Incised wound 10.0 x 4.0 cm on left hand at level of metacarple bones. All metacarples
bones were cut.
Incised wound 2.5 x 1.5 cm on lateral aspect of right forearm in its lower
third part. Muscles were cut.
Proximal phalanx of middle finger and middle phalanx of ring finger of right
hand were cut.
Two incised wounds of sizes of 3.0 x 1.0 cm skin deep on back of left shoulder.
the internal organs were pale. Left side of heart was empty while right side
contained dark fluid blood. The stomach contained about 100 CC of semi-digested
food and gasses." It is Dr.Gupta again, who stated:
injuries on deceased Om Parkash and Shashi could be caused with this weapon
shown to me (At this stage a sealed packet open which found to contain hexablade
which is Ex.P1. It is the same weapon and one corner of hexa blade was wrapped
with the clothes at that time. The piece of cloth is Ex.P.2). All the injuries
on deceased Varsha (except injuries No.6 & 7) could be caused with this
injuries on deceased Sunil Lakhani (except injury No.7) could be caused with
this weapon. The weapon was sealed with three seals. Attested sample seal used
was also given. My opinion is Ex.PL/2." In cross-examination, Dr. Gupta,
injury No.1 the wound will increase in the width over the skin in comparison to
the width of the weapon particularly in the occipital region. The injury No.2
could be caused with hard weapon.
means not elastic. Knife may be elastic or without elasticity. It is correct
that as regard injury No.2 is concerned it must have been caused with a heavy
weapon with force. The injury No.2 could have been caused by sharp edged of gandasa/pharsa
with force. I have not mentioned the area of injury No.5. It is correct that
the blade shown to me is lighter than the Gandasa/Pharsa. It is correct that
sawed edge of the hexa blade would cause lacerated wound only. Injury No.6
could be caused by thrust blow of knife. I have already mentioned the injury
No.6 and 7 could not have been caused by a Hexablade shown to me today in the
Court. It is correct that injury No.7 could have been caused by a knife. The
possibility of inquiry No.8 and 9 from Gandasa or Pharsa cannot be ruled out.
All the incised wounds having width 0.5 cm could have been caused by knife
which includes injury No.10, 11. Injury No.12 could be caused by a knife blow.
correct that injury No.13 could have been as a result of blow of heavy weapon
like Gandasa or Pharsa. It is correct that tibia bone is a strong bone.
must have taken food two hours before the death. The possibility of injuries
being received by the deceased at 11 or 12 AM on 8.1.96 cannot be ruled out. It
is correct that if hexa blade is dragged on the body then it would cause
tailing of the incised wound.
injury No.1 on the person of Om Parkash deceased could have been as a result of
Gandasa/Pharsa with force. Injury No.2 could also have been caused by a pharsa
or gandasa only with force. It is correct that all the injuries on the person
of deceased Om Parkash could have been as a result of gandasa or pharsa blows.
the injuries on the person of deceased Sunil Lakhani could have been caused by
a gandasa or pharsa with force.
the injuries on the person of Shashi Lakhani could have been caused by a Gandasa
or Pharsa. Injury No.3 could have been caused by a knife blow on the person of
deceased Shashi Lakhani. Injury No.4 could not have been caused by knife as and
11 could be as a result of knife blow." The third doctor examined in the
trial being PW-7 is Dr.Amar Bajaj, Medical Officer, B.K. Hospital, Faridabad
and found the following injuries on his person:
An abrasion 2.5 cm x 1.5 cm over palmer aspect of right hand just below the nareminance.
abrasion 2 cm x 1 cm over palmer aspect of right index finger over its first
and second phalanx.
abrasion 1.2 cm x 0.5 cm over palmer aspect of terminal Phalanx of right middle
abrasion 1 cm x 0.5 cm over palmer aspect of proximal phalanx of right ring
0.5 cm x 0.5 cm over palmer aspect of junction of proximal and second phalanx
of right little finger.
Seven abrasions of varying size measuring 0.2 cm x 0.2 cm to 1 cm x 0.2 cm
over back of right hand.
Abrasion 0.2 cm x 0.2 cm over palmer aspect of proximal phalanx of left hand.
Abrasion 1 cm x 0.2 cm over left side of face just outer to left eye.
Abrasion 0.75 cm x 0.2 cm over upper lip below right mostril.
Abrasion 1 cm x 0.2 cm over left side of face outer to left angle of mouth.
the injuries were caused with blunt weapon. Nature of injuries was simple,
duration was within 12 hours." On this state of medical evidence, the
learned Sessions Judge recorded a death penalty for Ravi Virmani whereas the
High Court modified it to life imprisonment as noticed herein before.
to record that the weapon used (as the prosecution case depicts) has been part
of a hacksaw blade one end of which was wrapped with a piece of cloth and Mr.Sushil
Kumar points out that the same facilitates holding of the blade. We shall deal
with the evidence of the two brothers, namely, Deepak and Sanjay slightly later
but presently be it noted that the total length of the weapon would be 2½ feet,
which was broken into two pieces and the piece, which was said to have been
used for the murder of these four persons was about 1½ feet. Mr. Sushil Kumar
in support of the appeal of the State of Haryana has placed much reliance on
the discovery of a piece of sharpening stone, which was said to have been used
to sharpen the blunt edges of the hacksaw blade and which as a matter of fact
looked like a knife an industrial hacksaw blade admittedly was in use which is
to be screwed and bolted to the machinery for cutting steel is said to have
been sharpened through the medium of a sharpening stone and the hacksaw blade
looked like a knife. Significantly, in the FIR, which has been to some extent
delayed though not fatal to the case of prosecution, it has been recorded that
a knife was used by the murderer : does it match the instrument mentioned in
the FIR that the sharpening stone and sharpening of blunt edges of looking like
a knife was introduced though Mr.Sushil Kumar emphatically answered in negative
but the learned Advocate for the appellant Mr. Anis Ahmed Khan answered it in
at this juncture, however, let us consider the evidence of Deepak Kumar, the
basic evidence as is available on record has already been dealt with herein
before in this judgment as part of the prosecution case and by reason therefore
we need not reiterate the same excepting recording four salient features in the
Deepak Kumar peeped through the glass pane fitted just near the doors and by
reason of the electric light of the lobby saw the father lying on the ground on
a pool of blood;
On seeing the father Deepak knocks the door with some force;
Virmani the accused came towards the door at that time and he was having one hexablade
in one hand and in his other hand he was lifting Deepak's three months' child
and it is only thereafter he opened the bolt of the door from inside; and
Demand of a ransom of 5 lakhs otherwise Ravi
threatened to kill Deepak's son.
introduction of the concept of ransom however went totally hay ward: four
persons are already dead or to be precise as per prosecution killed by Ravi:
three months old baby was available to be a prey of Ravi, if the prosecution
case is to be accepted But Ravi spares the child and after having spared the
child, killing four persons but story of ransom does not fit well neither same tobe
a part of human conduct desirous of obtaining a ransom: why would Ravi kill the
other four if ransom was the reason therefore as against the life of a child-
gruesome murder of four persons inside their respective rooms does not fit in
with the case of ransom as against a child of three months the High Court,
however, accept the fact of sparing the child as an instance of humane conduct
and the same stands out to be a factor for transforming the death penalty to
that of life imprisonment: our inquiry however slightly differ therefrom Can it
be an acceptable state of evidence or the same rather shakes the confidence of
the court as regards trustworthiness of the witness? The sketch plan though
mentions the door but does not mention transparent glass panes needless to
record but before entry on to the lobby Deepak watched the father in a pool of
blood as also Ravi coming with an hexablade on one
hand and three month old child on the other. The definite evidence of Deepak is
that the door bolt was opened by Ravi
and it was again bolted by the latter.
second aspect of Deepak's evidence is the entry of Sanjay which takes place
immediately after the arrival of Deepak:
also sees the happening inside the house and by reason thereof breaks open the
door obviously the kundi (the bolt gave way and have fallen on the ground but
there is no mention for the same in the police report or in the seizure list
this is however a minor omission with the Court ought not to dilate in a matter
of the nature presently dealt with). Deepak's evidence thereafter becomes
rather interesting Deepak stated that immediately after Sanjay arrived inside
the house the hexablade was snatched away from Ravi thus hexa blade shifts hand
from Ravi to Sanjay and immediately thereafter Deepak stated in his evidence
that he came out and cried out "maar diya, maar diya" Deepak's cry
was loud enough to attract Sukhdayal but in the meantime Sanjay was grappling
with Ravi and the latter did also inflict injury to Sanjay and thereafter as he
tried to escape Sukhdayal captured Ravi and it is then both the brothers went
inside the house and discovered four gruesome murders. Police was informed
telephonically and within a few minutes thereafter the police arrived and Ravi along with weapon of offence was handed over to the
police How has the weapon changed hands? Deepak's definite evidence that Sanjay
entered the house and snatched the hexablade from Ravi, when did this happen? Unfortunately there is no
answer to the same and the evidence is also delightfully silent. Sukhdayal was
supposed to have captured Ravi while the
latter was on his escape hundreds of people gathered at the cry of Deepak
neither Sukhdayal nor anyone of the people who gathered there were examined as
witnesses. What prevented Sukhdayal tobe brought in the witness box since he
would have been the best witness possible to narrate the incident at least from
the moment Deepak cried out "maar diya" Sukhdayal could have said as
to whether Virmani was caught by him with the murderous weapon in his hand or not
: It is this lapse which in our view go a long way in the matter presently
under consideration. Sukhdayal would have been a completely independent witness
or anyone of the persons who gathered subsequently as to the state of affairs
of the Ravi Virmani being caught the veracity of Deepak's evidence could have
founded corroboration and obviously would have laid acceptance of the same
without a hitch anywhere this is however not done. The prosecution has examined
eight witnesses of which three are Doctors, two formal witnesses, the
Investigating Officer and the two brothers not one independent witness though a
large number of people were available, was examined. Sukhdayal was in a
definite position to lend credence to Deepak or Sanjay's statement as an
independent witness there has however been no effort on the part of the prosecution
in that direction it is not that multiplicity of witnesses would improve the
situation neither we ought to be understood to hold that corroboration from
independent witnesses stands out to be a mandatory requirement witnesses though
be interested can be relied upon provided however the evidence available on
record is trustworthy and creates a confidence in the mind of the court that
the scrutiny entails only pointing out of commission of an offence by the
accused persons and that scrutiny in totality leads to an inevitable conclusion
of the guilt of the accused. The issue thus for our consideration is whether
the evidence available on record only leads to one conclusion that is the guilt
of the accused.
the prosecution involved both the father and the son whereas the father has to
wait outside, the son was completing his part of duty in a most heinous killing
of four persons. The Sessions Court, however in the absence of iota of evidence
of even his presence outside the door acquitted the father though convicted the
son under Section 302 and the High court converts the sentence of death penalty
to that of life imprisonment but the State has also appealed against the High
court's finding and as noticed above Mr. Sushil Kumar appearing for the State
in no uncertain terms submitted that State's appeal is by reason of the fact
that a social evil ought not to be allowed to be in the midst of the society
since the accused Ravi is not only an evil but a social menace. State's anxiety
to put a man in the gallows is however not very plainly understandable neither
it is understandable as to the State's attitude being eye for an eye and tooth
for a tooth it is true that it is the responsibility to maintain law and order
but the State on the other hand also maintains reformatory schools and if the
State is failed to bring the accused to books in a court of law can the State's
failure be countenanced by the apex Court? Why was not Sukhdayal examined? Why
there were'nt any independent witness? Mr. Sushil Kumar had no answer.
Obviously erudite as he is, only contended that the records otherwise would be
sufficient to bring home the charge and the penalty imposed by the Sessions
however not in a position to lend any credence to the submissions of Mr. Sushil
Kumar that the death penalty ought not to have been transformed to that of life
imprisonment as is sought to be done by the High court. On the wake of the
aforesaid, the four Appeals preferred by the State and Deepak Kumar (Crl. A. Nos.
927-928 and 929-930 of 2000) stand dismissed.
on to the main appeal under consideration before proceeding with the
evidentiary aspect of the matter a technical objection raised by Mr. Lalit,
appearing for the respondents ought to be noticed at this juncture to wit
complicity of Ravi in the offence has been concurrently found by the Trial
court and the High court as a finding of fact and that also upon marshalling of
the evidence and as such question of re-appreciation of the evidence in the
absence of perversity or contra appreciation of the evidence the apex Court
ought not to intervene or interfere in the impugned order. While it is true
that in the normal course of events in an appeal under Article 136 of the
Constitution, the Apex Court would not reopen the concurrent findings relating
to the appreciation of evidence, but this does not preclude this Court from
reappraisal of the evidence in the interest of justice in the event of there
being some winks of doubt as to the reliability of the evidence of the
prosecution. It is thus not a rule steadfast but depend on the concept of
justice and the question of availability of acceptable evidence on record. The
observations of this Court in Malempati Pattabhi Narendra vs. Ghattamaneni Maruthi
Prasad and others [(2000) 5 SCC 226] lend concurrence to the view expressed
above. No doubt, both the Courts did accept the evidence but that acceptance
was without raising even an eyebrow as to why no independent witness has been
examined in respect of the presence of so many people at the entrance door as
noticed herein before. Availability or non-availability of independent witness
has not even been referred to neither there is available on record any
explanation as to the reason of not examining even Sukh Dayal before the court.
This aspect of the matter has been dealt with in detail hereinbefore in this
Judgment and in the absence of any justifiable reason a doubt creeps in the
mind of the Court as to whether appropriate justice has been made available to
an accused in the justice delivery system of the country. It is on this score
that this Court found it essential to have a re-look or a further scrutiny of
the available evidence on record before recording its concurrence with the
findings, which stand challenged in this appeal. Ravi Virmani is the appellant
here charged with gruesome murder of four persons as detailed more fully herein
before but on a short recapitulation of the events at this juncture it appears
that four adult persons were killed none of them were ill or feeble or was of
very advance in age : an elderly gentleman of 50 years or so was murdered in
the drawing room:
adjoining bed room a young lady with a three month old child alongwith the wife
of the elderly gentleman in the drawing room and a young boy were available and
three of them were murdered in the same room would not there be any effort on
the part of any one of these four to resist unless they were totally
thunderstruck and in fact rendered themselves over awed and stone faced : an outsider
unknown to the family enters the bed room with a hacksaw blade and kills three
persons without there being any sign of any protest or resistance this raises
undoubtedly an eyebrow and thus a doubt in the available evidence. Motive has
been stated as noticed more fully herein before but that cannot be termed to be
a motive to kill four persons of the same family. The elderly person was
murdered in the drawing room outside the bedroom : the instrument used for
murder is a hacksaw blade which has to be fitted with bolts in the steel
cutting machine being operated by electrical power :
of the blunt edge of the hacksaw blade on a piece of stone has been the
evidence by reason wherefor the hacksaw blade looked like a knife : if the
intent was to kill why not bring a chopper so as to get rid of the persons in
one go and why a blunt edged weapon like hacksaw blade would be used assuming
that being so the 50 year old man, who happened to be otherwise well built
would not raise a cry or even an alarm? Is this an acceptable piece of evidence
that a man is being murdered with a hacksaw blade, which stands sharpened
through a sharpening stone, will not raise an alarm or cry before the death it
is not a gun shot injury but a blade: it is neither the case that there were
more than one person in the room where these killings took place. One of the
persons, who was seriously injured and thereafter died in the hospital, had
been the classmate of Ravi Virmani, the accused obviously of the same or near
about the age of the accused would the person of the same age accept a
situation seeing his father, the mother and the sister-in-law being killed
without a demur or protest or even a fight to restrain the outsider from
committing these gruesome acts of murder of three persons there is total
silence on this score in the evidence. The High court obviously was over-awed
by the killings of four persons in one flat but by reason of the fact that
there was no criminal history transformed the death sentence to a life term imprisonment
under Section 302 IPC. The issue, therefore, is as to whether the High Court
was otherwise right in coming to the conclusion on the basis of available
evidence as regards the guilt of the accused. We once again remind ourselves
the absence of any independent witness and the entire prosecution's case is
based upon the evidence of these two brothers Deepak and Sanjay.
Non-availability of independent witness thus creates an uncanny feeling as to
why this avoidance the reason did not see the light of the day at an earlier
point of time nor the learned senior Advocates appearing in the matter in
support of the prosecution could offer any explanation therefor. A pointed
question to that effect was answered in silence only. It is undoubtedly true
that commission of the crime in the manner as is framed by the prosecutor
cannot but be ascribed to be brutal and most heinous and in the event of there
being cogent available evidence, it would be a normal procedure to even award
the maximum sentence prescribed under the law but is there any cogent evidence
pointing to the guilt of the accused or there happen to be some lacuna and some
holes in the entire edifice of the prosecution case resulting in creeping of a
doubt does the evidence pointedly point towards the guilt of the accused and no
other conclusion is possible? If the answer stands in the affirmative then
without a least hesitation one cannot but lend concurrence to the view
expressed by the High Court but the evidence on record, however, as detailed more
fully herein before does not strictly pointedly point out to the guilt of the
accused by reason wherefor the burden of the prosecution to prove beyond all
reasonable doubts has not been discharged in a manner as it ought to have
discharged there are lacunas in the evidence and in totality of the
circumstance, the prosecution case raises a definite doubt in the matter of
involvement of Ravi Virmani. On a proper perusal of the evidence on record, we
do feel it expedient to record that both the learned Sessions Court as also the
High Court have not been able to appreciate the evidence in its proper
perspective by reason wherefor they have in fact failed to appreciate evidence
in its correct perspective and have thus committed a manifest error in coming
to a finding, which stands challenged and impugned in this appeal.
appeal of Ravi Virmani being Criminal Appeal No.931 of 2000 thus stands
allowed. The Order of the High Court stands set aside and Ravi Virmani stands
acquitted of all charges. The appellant be let off immediately unless required
in some other case.
C. Banerjee) .J.