Ramesh Vs State of
Bharat Kumar @ Bhatia
Vs State of Rajasthan
Gordhan Lal Vs State
J U D G M E N T
V.S. SIRPURKAR, J.
judgment will dispose of Criminal Appeal No. 1236 of 2006 filed by Ramesh @
Gaguda (original accused No. 3), Criminal Appeal No. 1235 of 2006 filed by
Bharat Kumar @ Bhatia (original accused No. 2) and Criminal Appeal No. 1237 of
2006 filed by Gordhan Lal (original accused No. 1). We shall refer to the
appellants as per their position before the Trial Court. While Ramesh @ Guguda (A-3)
is sentenced to death by Trial and appellate Courts, the other two accused being
Bharat Kumar @ Bhatia (A-2) and Gordhan Lal (A-1) are facing the life imprisonment
alongwith fines on different counts. That is how the matters have come up
avarice has no limits nor does it know of any emotions. The present case is the
sordid saga of the crime which emanated purely from human avarice.
is a quiet Taluk place in the State of Rajasthan. Ramlal Lunawat alongwith his wife
Shanti Devi was doing business of money lending by pledging gold and silver ornaments
and was selling steel utensils. On 5.2.2003, Anil (PW-1) telephoned to Police Station
Phalodi that the door of the house-cum-shop of Ramlal was lying suspiciously open
and nobody from the house was responding to the calls. Kishan Singh (PW-35) who
was the Station House Officer of the Police Station Phalodi, reached the house alongwith
some other police personnel. They found that Ramlal and his wife Shanti Devi
were lying dead in the pool of blood. The FIR by Anil (PW-1) was recorded and the
investigation was commenced for offences under Sections 302 and 457 of the Indian
Penal Code (hereinafter called "the IPC" for short).
The necessary spot
panchnamas were executed and the Material Objects found on the scene were
seized. It was found that both the deceased persons had human hair in their hands.
There was a blood-stained needle and syringe found near the dead body of Shanti
Devi. Some other materials were collected from the spot to find out the finger
prints. The clothes of the deceased persons were also seized. On suspicion, the
accused persons were arrested. One other accused Rajesh (original accused No.
4) was also arrested. He stands acquitted by the Courts below.
The accused persons gave
information under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act and the clothes that they
were wearing at the time of incident and their shoes were recovered. The
ornaments stolen from the house of Ramlal were also recovered. Their hair were
also taken for comparing with the sample of hairs founded at the scene of occurrence.
The instrument used for melting ornaments was found at the house of Rajesh (A-4),
which was allegedly stolen from the house of deceased Ramlal. The materials
were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Jaipur/Jodhpur and the reports
were obtained. On the completion of investigation, the chargesheet was filed against
of the prosecution is that Gordhan Lal (A-1) had some dealings with Ramlal (deceased)
which was evident from the diary found from the pocket of Ramlal. The prosecution
alleged that Gordhan Lal (A-1), therefore, decided to commit a robbery at the
place of Ramlal, who was a rich person, and conspired with the other accused
persons, namely, Bharat Kumar @ Bhatia (A- 2), Ramesh @ Guguda (A-3) and Rajesh
(A-4). They trespassed into the house of Ramlal by night and looted the house and
decamped with the looted ornaments of silver and gold, cash and other articles.
It is alleged by the prosecution that certain stolen gold ornaments were melted
at the house of Rajesh (A-4) and converted into a nugget (Dhalia). Ramesh (A-3)
and Bharat Kumar (A-2) had past criminal background.
They were involved in
number of criminal cases for offences such as attempt to murder, house trespass,
looting etc. The murder weapon `Jharbad' was recovered from Ramesh (A-3). The chargesheet
was filed for offences punishable under Sections 120-B, 302, 201, 404, 414,
457, 460/34 of the IPC as also for the offence punishable under Section 4/25 of
the Arms Act against Ramesh (A-3). The evidence was led and as many as 35
witnesses came to be examined in support of the charge. Prosecution relied on 132
documents and also produced 105 articles (M.Os.).
defence was that of denial and false implication. In addition to that, accused Ramesh
claimed that at the time of incident, he was taking part in a Jagran in Pali. Four
defence witnesses came to be examined by Ramesh (A-3) while Gordhan Lal (A-1) produced
one witness. The accused persons also filed a few documents. The defence did
not prevail in case of the present appellants as also Rajesh (A-4). Against Ramesh
(A-3), the case was treated to be the rarest of rare case. Ramesh (A-3) was
ordered to be hanged. He was also convicted for other offences punishable under
Sections120-B, 457, 302, 379, 404, 201 of the IPC. On the first two counts, he was
awarded 5 years' rigorous imprisonment and on the others, 1 year's rigorous imprisonment
consecutively with fine of Rs.500/- on each count.
He was also convicted
for the offence punishable under Section 5/25 of the Arms Act and was sentenced
with 1 year's rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs.500/-. Gordhan Lal (A-1) and
Bharat Kumar @ Bhatia (A-2) were convicted with the aid of Section 34, IPC but were
spared by ordering them to suffer rigorous imprisonment for life. On the other counts,
the identical punishment, as was awarded to Ramesh (A-3), was awarded to them. Rajesh
(A-4) was convicted for the offence punishable under Sections 201, 404 and 414 of
the IPC and was sentenced to undergo 5 years' rigorous imprisonment on the first
count and 1 year's rigorous imprisonment on the other counts with fine of Rs.500/-
on each count. Reference was made to the High Court for confirmation of the
death sentence of Ramesh (A-3) while the accused persons also filed their appeals.
The appeals filed by
the present three appellants and Rajesh (A-4) were dismissed by the High Court
and the sentences were also confirmed. The present appellants have challenged the
judgment of the High Court; however, Rajesh (A-4) has not come before us. The
reference was answered in affirmative and the High Court confirmed the death
sentence in case of Ramesh (A-3) and that is how the matters have come up
Sushil Kumar Jain, learned counsel appearing on behalf of Ramesh (A-3) submitted
that, in the first place, there was no evidence to establish theft at the house
of the deceased persons and, therefore, there was no question of any motive. The
learned counsel also 7 urged that there was no evidence to show that the articles
alleged to have been recovered from the appellant Ramesh were belonging to or otherwise
in possession of the deceased persons before their death. The learned counsel pointed
out that the arrest and recoveries made from the appellants are doubtful since there
are discrepancies in respect of the date, time and place of the arrest and recoveries
made. The learned counsel also urged that the prosecution also could not connect
the accused persons with the crime on the basis of FSL reports regarding the
Even in respect of the
weapon, the learned counsel pointed out that the recovery of the murder weapon itself
was doubtful. Lastly, the learned counsel urged that at any rate, it was not the
rarest of rare case and as such the death sentence was not justified. Shri M.N.
Krishnamani, learned senior counsel and Shri Anis Ahmed Khan, learned counsel
contended on behalf of Bharat Kumar @ Bhatia (A- 2) that the evidence of
recovery of clothes and shoes of Bharat Kumar @ Bhatia (A-2) was suspicious and
discrepant. They also attacked the alleged recovery of silver and gold ornaments
at the instance of this accused. They pointed out that the FSL report was of no
consequence against this accused. Similar is the 8 contention raised by Shri M.L.
Lahoty, learned counsel appearing on behalf of Gordhan Lal (A-1). Shri Lahoty pointed
out that there was nothing incriminating found against this accused and that the
so-called recoveries were farcical and inconsequential. The learned counsel further
pointed out that this accused could not be booked on the basis of the FSL
the learned counsel pointed out that the quality of investigation was extremely
poor and it was a pre-determined investigation. All the learned counsel, therefore,
prayed for rebuttal.
against this, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State, supported the judgment
while pointing out that though this was a case based on circumstantial evidence,
the prosecution had fully proved the incriminating circumstances like the
recovery of ornaments stolen from the house of Ramlal, their identification and
the fact that the accused persons were found in possession of the stolen articles
almost immediately after the crime and, therefore, the prosecution could use
the presumption under Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act. The learned counsel
also pointed out that the prosecution had proved that Rajesh, the fourth conspirator,
was a receiver of stolen property and had helped in melting of some of the gold
items with the machines removed from the house of Ramlal (deceased).
It was also pointed out
that Gordhan Lal (A-1) was aware of sound financial condition of Ramlal as he
was dealing with Ramlal which was clear from the diary found from the pocket of
Ramlal's body. The learned counsel also pointed out that there were some clinching
circumstances in the prosecution evidence which established that all the four
accused persons were working hand-in-glove and had entered into conspiracy to commit
robbery at Ramlal's place. The learned counsel, therefore, urged that the
accused would be answerable to the charge of murder as they not only had
conspired, but had also developed a common intention to commit that crime and had
actually committed the crime of robbery and in that process had committed
murder of two innocent persons.
regards the sentence, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State urged
that this was undoubtedly the rarest of rare case, where the accused persons
had committed the murder for their avarice with pre-planned mind and in cold blood.
The learned counsel, therefore, justified the death sentence in case of Ramesh (A-3)
and life imprisonment in respect of other accused persons.
we proceed with the matter, it has to be borne in mind that this case depends
upon circumstantial evidence and, as such as, per the settled law, every circumstance
would have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt and further the chain of circumstances
should be so complete and perfect that the only inference of the guilt of the accused
should emanate therefrom. At the same time, there should be no possibility
whatsoever of the defence version being true. Both the Courts below have held that
such circumstances are proved by the prosecution and that the only inference flowing
therefrom would be that of the guilt on the part of the three accused persons. The
scope for interference in factual findings by this Court is very limited. This Court
would, under such circumstances, examine whether the findings are pervert or
impossible. Again, this is not a case of a single accused, and, therefore, the incriminating
circumstances would have to be individually weighed vis-`-vis each accused and
it would have to be seen as to whether such examination justifies the conviction
of the accused as ordered by the Trial Court and the appellate Court.
accused No.4, Rajesh was also tried with the accused persons. He was charged with
the offence under Sections 201, 404 and 414, Indian Penal Code. While convicting
him, the Trial Court has recorded certain findings convicting him of all the three
offences stated above. Basically, it was alleged against Rajesh (A-4) vide
Exhibit P-31, that the stolen property of gold ornament was recovered from him.
Exhibit P-32 is the site plan of the recovery. Rajesh initially was roped in as
the conspirator also. However, it seems that he has been absolved of the charge
In that behalf, it has
been held by the Trial Court that he cannot be booked for that offence since it
was not proved that he had joined the conspiracy to the house-breaking in the house
of Ram Lal. Recording this finding, the Sessions Judge also acquitted him of the
offence under Section 302 and Section 120B, IPC. Indeed there could be no offence
under Section 302, IPC alleged against him as there was no evidence against him
of his having taken part in the actual act of house-breaking and the assault on
Ram Lal and Shanti Devi. It is only on the basis of the discovery by him of
ornaments and the machinery to melt gold that he has been booked for the offence
under Sections 201, 404 and 414, IPC.
The Trial Court as
well as the appellate Court have accepted that he voluntarily gave information
vide Exhibit P-106 after his arrest on 13.2.2003. Both the Courts below have
further held that in pursuance of that, he took the Panchas and the Investigating
Officer and discovered ornaments substantial in number. The discovery was supported
by the evidence of PW-5, Chandulal and PW-16, Madho Singh while recovery of the
ornaments was also supported by the evidence of PW-35, Kishan Singh. The most significant
of the articles discovered by this accused is a steel tiffin on which the name of
Ramlal Lunawat was engraved. The other ornaments were weighing about 350 gms.
of gold. The Courts below have held that the appellant Rajesh was aware of the incident
and the circumstance as to how the steel tiffin belonging to Ramlal Lunawat along
with ornaments came to his possession was not explained by him. Besides this,
the High Court also noted that certain jewels coming out from the ornaments
were stuck on the melting apparatus. Therefore, the Courts came to the conclusion
that the appellant knew or had reason to know that the offence had been committed.
He not only tried to screen
the offence by melting the ornaments but was found in possession of the stolen
property like the ornaments and the gold ingots. It was on this basis that
Rajesh was convicted for offences under Sections 201 and 404 as also Section
414, IPC. The High Court wrote a finding "on the basis of the same set of
evidence, it can also be safely said that the appellant Rajesh assisted other accused
appellants in disposal of the property". The High Court has specifically held
that accused had not given any satisfactory explanation regarding this recovery.
He was an ordinary government employee but had kept the gold ornaments in his possession
knowing them to be stolen property.
The Trial Court, thereafter,
gave a finding that it were accused Ramesh and Rajesh together who had melted gold
ornaments and prepared dhalias with it, weighing 347 gms. which have been recovered
from Ramesh and Rajesh and three ladis ingots weighing 151 gms. Thus, Rajesh
had received the ornaments from none-else than Ramesh (A-3) who himself was found
in possession of very substantial number of ornaments including 10 dhalias, weighing
1347 gms. It was, therefore, obvious that there was a definite 14 connection between
Rajesh (A-4) and the other accused (A-1) Ramesh. Very surprisingly, the finding
regarding the ornaments received by Rajesh coming from Ramesh and fellow accused
has not been challenged in any of the appeals.
If the ornaments were
found to be belonging to Ramlal as they were kept in the tiffin on which the
name of Ramlal was engraved and further if Rajesh had given no explanation, it was
obvious that the ornaments proceeded from accused Ramesh and his fellow accused
to Rajesh with the sole objective of melting the ornaments. Rajesh knew that it
was stolen property and had accepted the same. In such circumstances, it was
incumbent upon the other accused being A-1, A-2 and A-3 to challenge at least
the finding against Rajesh even if Rajesh had not challenged his conviction. The
finding given against Rajesh regarding the stolen property having been given to
him by accused Ramesh ought to have been challenged. There was no challenge on this
major circumstance with the result that it is now the factual situation that
the ornaments stolen from Ramlal's house and the other connecting materials like
tiffin were passed on to Rajesh.
that by itself will not be a clinching circumstance against the three appellants.
The prosecution had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that these three accused persons
entered the house-cum-shop of Ramlal and then committed the murder of the two
and, thereafter, decamped with the cash and substantial amount of ornaments.
very strange argument was raised by Shri Sushil Kumar Jain. According to him,
the prosecution had not proved that there was any theft at all. This argument was
not made even before the Trial Court or the appellate Court. However, the
argument must fail on the simple ground that the ornaments found with Rajesh
were kept in a tiffin bearing the name of Ramlal. Rajesh could not give any explanation
of the huge amount of ornaments melted and other things found in his possession.
Secondly, there was also a Katordan which was found by the Investigating Officer
with Gordhan (though there is some controversy as to from which accused the
said Katordan bearing the name of Ramlal was found). Even if there is such a
controversy the fact of the matter is that the Katordan did belong to Ramlal
and there is no explanation whatsoever as to how the Katordan came out of the
house of Ramlal.
Thirdly, the huge amount
of gold which was found with Ramesh being 1347 gms. (some ornaments being intact
and some turned into gold ingots for which there was virtually no explanation, as
also the ornaments found with accused Gordhan and accused Bharat without any reasonable
explanation), therefore, would completely destroy the argument of learned
counsel that there was no theft. It does not stand to reason that the police must
have collected all these ornaments from the house of Ramlal after the murder and
planted the ornaments without any purpose for the obvious weakness of the argument.
Therefore, the first argument of Shri Jain on behalf of Ramesh, (A-3) that there
was no theft or that the prosecution had not proved any theft having committed
at Ramlal's house must fall to the ground.
the case of Ramesh (A-3) whose complicity has been held to be proved, Shri
Sushil Kumar Jain, learned counsel for the said appellant submitted that there was
contradiction with regard to the date, time and place of the discoveries and
recoveries. Some minor contradictions were shown which are of no consequence. The
learned counsel tried to urge that 17 though the accused was arrested on 9.2.2003
as per Exhibit P-102A (Rojnamcha of the Police Station Phalodi), according to Inder
Singh (PW-10), he was arrested on 10.2.2003. We are not impressed by this argument
at all, particularly, in view of the evidence of Inder Singh (PW-10), Mahendra Pal
Singh (PW-19) and Nagaram (PW-33).
There is nothing wrong
if the said accused was arrested somewhere and brought to the Police Station Kotwali.
After all, he was carrying the huge amount of ornaments and cash on his person.
If that was so, it could not have been weighed in the open market. For that, he
was required to be brought to the Police Station Kotwali. Therefore, this argument
that there was some contradiction in the versions, does not impress us. Similarly,
the learned counsel tried to argue that as per the evidence of Inder Singh, SHO
(PW-10), after arresting Ramesh (A-3), they had come straight to Nagorigate Police
Station. We do not find much substance in this argument as it is sufficiently
proved by the prosecution that when Ramesh (A-3) was arrested, he was having a
black bag containing huge amount of gold ornaments.
It does not really
matter as to whether the proceedings were done at Adharshila or at Nagorigate
or even at Kotwali Police Station so long as it is proved 18 that when apprehended,
Ramesh (A-3) was carrying the black bag full of ornaments and cash which has been
successfully proved by the prosecution. This is all the more true as there is absolutely
no explanation by Ramesh (A-3) for the possession of the huge haul of gold. Therefore,
the so-called contradictions in the evidence of Inder Singh (PW-10), Mahendra
Pal Singh (PW- 19) and Nagaram (PW-33) does not impress us at all. We have
already observed that it could not be possible for the police to collect all
the gold and to put it against the three accused persons. The learned counsel
tried to argue that there is no mention in Exhibit P-44 (Memo of Arrest) of the
black bags specifically.
That is not correct. A
look at Exhibit P-44 is sufficient to show that there was a black bag with Ramesh
(A-3). After all, he was not going to carry all these instruments in his shirt
pockets and pant pockets. Even if it is not mentioned, that is of no consequence.
A good explanation has been given that since the bag was empty, there was no
necessity of its being sealed. We accept the explanation. Therefore, we hold
that the High Court and the Trial Court were correct in holding that a huge haul
of gold was found weighing as much as 1347 gms., which is more than a Kilo of gold.
There was also no 19 explanation for the cash. It is also significant that Ramesh
(A-3) did not claim these ornaments as his ornaments. All that the accused is suggesting
is that the ornaments were not seized from him. It is impossible to accept this
version of the accused.
takes us to a very strong circumstance against Ramesh (A-3) i.e. the presence of
human blood on his (Ramesh's) clothes. Recovery Memo (Exhibit P-41) is in respect
of clothes and shoes of Ramesh (A-3). That was effected on 15.2.2003. Exhibit
P-42 is a site plan of the recovery of clothes and shoes. True it is that Ramesh's
house was visited by Kishan Singh (PW-35), the Investigating Officer for recovery
of Jharbad. It may be that at that time the concerned police officer did not
show the presence of mind by searching the house for recovery of clothes and
shoes. However, that by itself will not demolish the prosecution case.
It has to be borne in
mind that it was in pursuance of Exhibit P-108 that the information was given
by the accused regarding the clothes and shoes. While he had given the information
about the weapon of offence `Jharbad' vide Exhibit P-103 dated 12.2.2003, we do
accept that the police officer on 12.3.2003 itself, when he seized the 20 murder
weapon i.e. Jharbad, should have taken the search of the whole house. But, failure
on the part of the police officer to do that would not by itself wipe out the
prosecution case, particularly, in view of the fact that the articles, namely, Jharbad,
pant and the shoes were found to be stained with human blood, which is clear from
Exhibit P-126. We have minutely seen and examined Exhibit P-126, where it is
seen that shirt and shoes of Ramesh (A-3) were stained with human blood, though
the blood group could not be detected. However, some explanation was bound to
be offered by Ramesh (A-3) as to how the human blood came on the shoes and on
the shirt. There is no explanation which is worthy. The murder weapon, however,
has been found stained with human blood and even its blood group has been shown
to be `A'.
It is to be seen that
the clothes of Ramlal were stained with his own blood which was of group `A'. This
is a very weighty circumstance against Ramesh (A-3) and there is absolutely no
explanation offered by Ramesh (A-3) of this highly incriminating circumstance. Thus,
it is clear from this evidence that prosecution had proved its case against Ramesh
(A-3) that he was involved in the robbery which was clear from the human blood detected
on his clothes and the murder weapon 21 which was recovered at his instance. Shri
Jain, learned counsel tried to attack the recoveries and the discoveries. However,
both the Courts below have accepted the same. In addition to this, Ramesh (A-3)
was found to be in possession of huge amount of gold in form of ornaments and
ingots and cash, for which he had no explanation. The said articles were seized
from his person.
It is not understood
as to why the gold would be in the form of ingots from the recovery of the gold
melting apparatus from Rajesh. It was clear that there was effort to melt the
gold. The necessity of melting the gold and the fact that the accused persons like
Rajesh made efforts to melt the gold and further accused Ramesh being found in possession
of gold ingots which could not have been in that form lends support to the theory
that Ramesh was in possession of the stolen property. There is no explanation by
Ramesh even for the huge cash. He did not accept the cash belonging to him. He
is not shown to be a wealthy person so as to be in possession of 1347 gms. of gold
and a huge cash of about Rs. 30,000/-. All this and the further evidence that
his clothes and shoes were stained in blood and the Jharbad (weapon) recovered from
him was also blood stained with A group of blood would clinch the case 22 against
Ramesh. Shri Jain also very earnestly suggested that discoveries and recoveries
were farcical and that in fact, some of the discoveries and recoveries were disbelieved
by the Trial Court also but had been accepted by the High Court.
are of the clear opinion that the High Court was absolutely correct in believing
the recoveries and discoveries also, particularly, as against the accused Ramesh.
There may be some irregularities here and there or some casual investigation by
the police, however, we do not think that the investigation in this case was tainted.
There was absolutely no reason for the police to falsely implicate Ramesh (A-3)
and the other two accused persons. True it is that Phalodi is a small place and
there was great tension prevailing on account of the robbery, however, that by
itself will not be the reason for police to falsely implicate Ramesh (A-3) and the
other two accused persons. Nothing has been brought in the cross-examination of
the police officers and, more particularly, the cross-examination of Kishan
Singh (PW-35), the Investigating Officer. Before going to the other cited
cases, we would consider the case of Gordhan Lal (A-1).
so far as accused Gordhan is concerned, Shri Lahoti, learned counsel appearing for
him, led much stress on the fact that there was no blood found on Gordhan's
pant and T-shirt. The learned counsel further says that it is obvious that Gordhan
was not the participant in the crime. That statement is clearly incorrect. Insofar
as his T-shirt is concerned, Exhibit P-126 clearly speaks that human blood was found
on his shirt. As if this was not sufficient, his shoes were also found to be
stained with human blood. Therefore, Exhibit P-126 would falsify the claim on behalf
of accused Gordhan that he was not connected with the crime.
It is only his pant
which seems to be innocuous in the sense that no blood was found on the same. However,
there is no explanation by Gordhan as to how his T-shirt and shoes were found to
be stained with human blood. Shri Lahoti attacked the recovery of clothes as well
as the ornaments on 9.2.2003. The prosecution has relied on PW-6, Mohan Lal, PW-7,
Dev Kumar and PW-11, Ajit Jain. The recovery of clothes was on 9.2.2003, while the
ornaments were recovered on 13.2.2003 and 19.2.2003. It was only the gold chain
which was recovered on 19.2.2003 from him. Rest of the ornaments were recovered
from him and it was found at 24 the time of recovery that the ornaments were
kept in a Katordan. It is specifically mentioned therein that the name of
Ramlal was engraved on the said Katordan. The learned counsel very vehemently
attacked this so-called recovery which was made on 13.2.2003. The recovery appears
to have been made on 09.2.2003 vide Exhibit P- 38. It was only on that day that
the clothes and the shoes of Gordhan were seized. On 19.2.2003, Gordhan produced
the chain. It must be remembered that this was the gold chain which was identified
by PW-30 Rajesh in the identification parade by PW-22, Jitendra Kumar Pandey
have gone through the evidence of identification parade especially of PW-22, Jitendra
Kumar Pandey and both the Courts having accepted the evidence about the identification
of ornaments which were recovered from Ramesh. We do not find any reason to
dis-believe that evidence. Therefore, it is established that Ramesh was undoubtedly
in possession of the ornaments which ornaments can be connected with Ramlal. In
this behalf, we must refer to the evidence of Rajesh who claimed in his evidence
that he identified the chain of his maternal uncle. It is to be seen that Rajesh
was the 25 nephew of deceased Ramlal. He surfaced immediately after it was
known that Ramlal and his wife Shanti Devi were murdered.
He claimed that he
had seen his maternal uncle using the chain and two rings and his Mami i.e. Shanti
Devi using four bangles and four rings and ear rings in her ears. He was the one
who performed the last rites of Ramlal and Shanti Devi. He also referred to the
search taken by police on 8.2.2003 and the Fard prepared therein vide Exhibit P-22.
He described that the goods in the shop were lying scattered and there were small
Potlies containing Rs.17,000/- in cash and some change. On 18.4.2003, he was called
for identifying the ornaments. The identification proceedings are to be seen
from Exhibits P-24 and P-25. He correctly identified the chain of maternal
uncle and also the bangles of his maternal aunt. The learned counsel assailed this
The mother of Rajesh was
the first wife of his father and Ramlal was the brother of his mother who was no
more. His claim that he used to stay with deceased Ramlal whenever he was in Phalodi,
could not be demolished. It was urged that even Ramlal's first wife had died
and Shanti Devi was his second wife, for whose marriage he was not invited. He corrected
himself and claimed that though 26 he was invited, since there was a death of a
close relative, he could not come for the marriage from Madras. Even accepting
that this witness was not called for the marriage, the fact that he used to
stay with the deceased persons whenever he was in Phalodi could not be demolished.
The tenor of his evidence shows that he indeed was very closely connected with
We are not impressed
by the huge and long cross-examination of this witness. Most of the cross-examination
was irrelevant. In fact, it is in his cross-examination that it has come that there
was a mark of flower and patia (leaves) on the gold bangles of his maternal
aunt. It cannot be expected that the witness would give a graphic description of
the ornaments. Much cross- examination was wasted in showing that he did not know
from where the other bangles and chains were brought by the police for the identification
purpose. That was absolutely irrelevant. The evidence of Jitender Kumar (PW-22)
is extremely important inasmuch as both Ramesh (A-3) and Bharat Kumar (A-2) are
connected because of that evidence. The four gold bangles which were identified
by Rajesh (A-4) were seized from Bharat Kumar (A-2) while the chain which was identified
by him was seized from Gordhan Lal (A-1).
This witness 27 specifically
stated that these ornaments were correctly identified. There is hardly any
cross-examination which is worthy and can be relied upon and accepted. The cross-examination
only consists of some futile suggestions. This witness had no interest against the
accused or in favour of the prosecution. He was doing his duty. His evidence connects
Gordhan (A-1) and Bharat Kumar (A-2) with the crime. We, therefore, accept the identification.
We are also in agreement with the High Court that the recoveries from Gordhan
Lal (A-1) and Bharat Kumar (A-2) of the ornaments including the identified
bangles and the chain were fully proved. There is hardly any explanation by these
two accused persons.
are not impressed by the contention raised that the police have seized the gold
chain on 19.2.2003 even when they had visited the same place on 9.2.2003 for recovering
the cloths on 13.2.2003 for recovering the other ornaments including the Katordan.
It is quite possible that the police were not able to recover all the ornaments
in one go. The High Court has given good reasons to set aside the finding of
the Trial Court to the effect that this recovery was not proved. In fact, 28 there
is clear cut evidence on record that the ornaments which were recovered on 13.2.2003
were kept in a Katordan. We have already commented that in Exhibit P35 itself, it
is clearly mentioned that full name of deceased Ramlal was engraved on the Katordan.
The recovery of Katordan would clinch the issue insofar as the identification of
the ornaments is concerned. Gordhan had no explanation whatsoever for these ornaments
or for the Katordan. Therefore, it is clear that Gordhan was also in possession
of the stolen property almost immediately after the theft and was directly connected
with the crime since his shirt and shoes were stained with human blood for
which there was no explanation. We confirm the finding given by the High Court
regarding the recoveries.
We have already
pointed out earlier that the gold chain which was recovered from accused
Gordhan was clearly identified by PW-30, Rajesh. We have closely seen the
evidence of PW-7, Dev Kumar and PW-35, Kishan Singh. We have also considered the
evidence of DW-5, Chhel Singh. We are, therefore, of the clear opinion that the
prosecution has been able to prove the guilt of Gordhan who was not only a participant
in the crime but was also found in possession of the gold ornaments including the
gold 29 chain which was clearly identified by witness PW- 30,Rajesh. We, therefore,
confirm the finding of the High Court in that behalf and hold that the High
Court was right in dismissing the appeal of Gordhan. There is some controversy in
respect of the Katordan as to whether it was seized from Gordhan or from Bharat
Kumar. Considering the oral evidence of PW-6, Mohan Lal as also PW-35, Kishan Singh
and further considering Exhibit P- 35, we are of the clear opinion that
Katordan on which name of deceased Ramlal was engraved was undoubtedly seized from
this accused. We are, therefore, of the clear opinion that the High Court was right
in dismissing the appeal of this accused.
leaves us with the case of Bharat which is no better than Gordhan's case. It
must be remembered that as per Exhibit P-126, Bharat Kumar's T-shirt as well as
pant as also his shoes were stained with human blood and further his pant and
shirt were found to be stained with blood group A which was the blood group of
Ramlal. This circumstance alone is sufficient to clinch the issue against this accused.
As if this is not sufficient, there has been the recovery of gold ornaments from
Bharat Kumar. He was arrested on 7.2.2003 and vide 30 Exhibit P-85, he agreed to
produce the ornaments vide Exhibit P-105. The ornaments were recovered vide recovery
memo being Exhibit P-53.
The following ornaments
were found with him: "Silver Badia weighing 295 gms; One pair of silver
nevra weighing 270 gms; One pair of silver kadla weighing 430 gms; Silver
`dhala' weighing 076 gms; Silver ring, bichhudi, 17 pairs of pech, 14 pech weighing
84 gms; One silver ingot weighing 205 gms." This recovery is supported by the
evidence of PW-13, Jalim Chand. However, the Trial Court rejected this recovery.
The High Court has set aside that finding and has held that the recovery was
fully proved. It cannot be forgotten that Bharat gave no explanation about the huge
amount of silver ornaments found with him. Again, we fail to follow as to how
the silver ingots weighing 205 gms. could be found unless the silver ornaments
were turned into the shape of ingots. Secondly, four gold bangles were found vide
Exhibit P-114 by way of this discovery.
This discovery was proved
by PW-11, Ajit Jain and in the identification proceedings vide Exhibit 31 25,
bangles were correctly identified by PW-30, Rajesh. We have already commented about
Rajesh and PW-22, Jitender Kumar who held the identification parade. This in fact
clinches the issue. A strong argument was advanced by the learned counsel Shri Krishnamani
that this was a belated discovery and as such was not liable to be believed. We
have already held that the discovery made by the accused and the recovery of
the ornaments in pursuance of that are completely credible, seen in the light
of other evidence of his blood stained T-shirt and shoes. Shri Krishnamani
could not explain the finding of the blood as also the clinching evidence of the
recovery of ornaments in pursuance of the discovery statement made by the accused.
We are, therefore, of the clear opinion that even this accused would be held liable
and would be held guilty for the offence alleged against him.
shall now consider the case law relied upon by the learned counsel for the
defence. Shri Jain, learned counsel appearing on behalf of Ramesh (A-3) then
relied on the decisions in Chandmal & Anr. Vs. State of Rajasthan [1976 (1)
SCC 621], Mohd. Aman & Anr. Vs. State of Rajasthan etc. etc., [1997 (10) SCC
44], 32 Mahabir Sao alias Mahadeo Sao Vs. The State of Bihar [1972 (1) SCC 505]
and Inspector of Police, Tamil Nadu Vs. Bala Prasanna [2008 (11) SCC 645]. Even
as regards the detection of human blood, the learned counsel relied on the decisions
in State of Rajasthan Vs. Raja Ram [2003 (8) SCC 180], Yeshwant & Ors. Vs. The
State of Maharashtra etc. etc. [1972 (3) SCC 639], Raghunath Vs. State of
Haryana & Anr. etc. etc. [2003 (1) SCC 398], State of M.P. Vs. Nisar [2007
(5) SCC 658] and Hardyal Prem Vs. State of Rajasthan [1991 Supp. (1) SCC 148]
to suggest that mere presence of human blood would not constitute an
incriminating circumstance. The other two cases relied upon by the learned counsel
are Manish Dixit & Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan etc. etc. [2001 (1) SCC 596]
and Subhash Chand Vs. State of Rajasthan [2002 (1) SCC 702].
as the first group of cases is concerned, they are relating to the
identification of the ornaments recovered from Ramesh. In Chandmal & Anr.
v. State of Rajasthan (cited supra), this Court held that unless the property
in possession of the accused is proved to be a stolen property the prosecution
cannot benefit from mere possession of such property. That was a case where the
33 property was recovered after two years of the murder and the alleged theft and,
therefore, the Court held that presumption under Section 114 Illustration (a) of
the Indian Evidence Act could not be applicable. The case is quite different on
facts. In Mohd. Aman & Anr. v. State of Rajasthan etc.etc. (cited supra) the
question was of the possession of the accused of four silver rings belonging to
the deceased's wife. On facts, it was held that the same could not be stolen
property as the prosecution had failed to prove that the rings belonged to the deceased's
It was further held that
even assuming that the rings belonged to the deceased wife, it was not
established by the prosecution that the said rings were stolen at the time of commission
of murder and not on earlier occasion. The Court had found, on appreciation of evidence,
that the recovery of the stolen articles was not established. It was, therefore,
that the Court left the said evidence out of the consideration. However, that
is not the case here. We have already pointed out that the theft of the articles,
more particularly, the melting apparatus machine and the ornaments was fully established.
The identification of the property was also established.
Hence the ruling is
of no consequence. 34 In Inspector of Police, Tamil Nadu v. Bala Prasannas' case
(cited supra), the Court observed that though the accused persons were found in
possession of the gold ingots, the Court went on to hold that because of that it
would be hazardous to come to the conclusion that in fact gold jewellery
belonged to the deceased. That was a case where the earrings of the deceased
remained intact on the body. The case turns on its own facts. In the present
case, it is not only the gold which connects the accused with the crime but also
the articles like Katordan and tiffin on which the name of the deceased was engraved.
The evidence clearly showed
that the Katordan was seized with the ornaments in it. Further, some of the ornaments
like gold bangles and the chain were actually identified and we have accepted the
identification evidence. Such was not the case in the reported decision. That decision
would, therefore, be of no consequence. The last decision relied upon by the learned
counsel Shri Jain reported as Mahabir Sao @ Mahadeo Sao v. The State of Bihar (cited
supra) was again on different facts. In this case the description of the stolen
property itself differed.
learned counsel then urged, relying on State of Rajasthan Vs. Raja Ram (cited supra),
that merely because the articles and weapons were found with human blood, that
by itself would not connect the accused. The contention was raised in respect of
the murder weapon Jharbad. The contention is that mere recovery of weapon cannot
be a foundation of the prosecution case and the conviction cannot be made merely
on the basis of such recovery. It must be stated at this juncture that in this case
the conviction of Ramesh is not being based merely on the recovery of weapon. It
must be remembered that not only were the clothes blood stained but the Jharbad
(weapon) was also found to be stained with blood of the blood group A which was
the blood group of deceased Ramlal.
We have nothing to say
about the principles emanating from this ruling. However, the facts appear to be
clearly different. The existence of blood on the clothes was explained in that
case on the basis of the possibility of blood being that of the accused himself.
Such is not the case here. None of the accused has pleaded that they were injured
in any manner nor was any injury found on their person. The ruling is, therefore,
of no consequence. 36 In Yashwant's case, (cited supra) the facts are quite different.
That case turned on account of the identification parade not having been believed.
The Court proceeded to hold that though a blood stained dhoti was found at the accused's
residence, the blood group was not fixed. There was no connection established. It
is on that ground that the Court proceeded to give the benefit of doubt. The
Court has not held that in all the cases where the blood group is not fixed,
the existence of blood on the wearing apparel becomes inconclusive. In this case,
the existence of the blood is not the only circumstance on the basis of which the
accused has been convicted.
We, therefore, find
no parity of reasoning in this case. In Raghunath's case (cited supra) again,
the Court was concerned with the blood stained earth, blood stained muffler and
lathis. Since the blood group was not proved, the Court came to the conclusion
that the mere fact that the blood was human, was not conclusive evidence. Insofar
as some of the accused persons are concerned, even the blood group is fixed
and, therefore, this case would be of no consequence. 37 In Hardayal Prem's case
(cited supra), the prosecution was not able to fix the blood group of blood found
on the weapon. Under those circumstances, the prosecution case was not
accepted. Such is not the case here. The blood on Jharbad was found to be a
blood of blood group of A which was Ramlal's blood group. In Manish Dixit's case
(cited supra) the only circumstance was that the blood found on the motorcycle of
the accused was found to be of the blood group of the deceased. Under the
circumstances, this Court declined to convict the accused on that sole
It is very significant
to note the observations made in para 35 "if there were other circumstances
apart from the recovery of some jewellery belonging to the deceased from the possession
of this accused, perhaps the aforesaid circumstance (relating to the blood stained
found on the motorcycle) would have lent support to an inference against
him." In fact the observations are more helpful to the prosecution than to
the defence. The case of Subhash Chand (cited supra) is completely different on
facts. That was a case where the underwear which was blood stained and on which
the semen stain was not shown to be belonging to the accused at all no 38 connection
was established. It was on that basis that the matter was decided. Therefore,
this case is also of no consequence. Some other cases were cited like oft-quoted
case of Pulukari Kottaiah v. King Emperor [AIR 1947 PC 67], Mohd. Inayatullah v.
State of Maharashtra [1976 (1) 828], Pohalya Motya Valvi v. State of
Maharashtra [1980 (1) SCC 530] and Mohd. Abdul Hafeez v. State of Andhra Pradesh
[1983 (1) SCC 143].
There is no question
of the principles regarding Section 27, Indian Evidence Act. However, on facts
we have found the discoveries of all the three accused persons in this case to
be reliable in the peculiar facts of this case. Lastly, the learned counsel relied
on Ram Pal Pithwa Rahidas v. State of Maharashtra [1994 Suppl. (2) SCC 73]
which speaks about the necessity of a fair investigation. In para 37, the Court
has observed as under:
"The quality of
a nation's civilization, it is said, can be largely measured by the methods it uses
in the enforcement of the criminal law' and going by the manner in which the investigating
agency acted in this case causes concern to us. In every civilized society the police
force is invested with the powers of investigation of the crime to secure punishment
for the criminal and it is in the interest of the society that the investigating
agency must act honestly and fairly and not resort to fabricating false evidence
or creating false clues only with a view to secure conviction because such acts
shake the confidence of the common man not only in the investigating agency but
in the ultimate analysis in the system of dispensation of criminal justice. Let
no guilty man go unpunished but let the end not justify the means! The courts must
remain ever alive to this truism. Proper results must be obtained by recourse to
proper means- otherwise it would be an invitation to anarchy."
have absolutely no reason to differ on the principle of honesty and fair investigation.
However, we do not find any reason here in this case to hold that the investigation
was in any way unfair. We have already held that merely because the recoveries were
made from the same place which was already visited by the police, that would
itself not dispel the evidence of discovery and recovery. This we have held on
the basis of the peculiar evidence led in this case. True it is that the investigation
officer should have thoroughly searched the premises of Gordhan and Bharat Kumar
on 9.2.2003 itself. However, if the accused agreed to discover different things
on different dates and those things were actually found in pursuance of the information
given by the accused, the discoveries cannot be faulted for only that reason.
short, we are of the opinion, that the appeals filed by the accused persons,
namely, Gordhan (A-1) and 40 Bharat Kumar (A-2) have to be dismissed and they are
dismissed. Even accused No.3, Ramesh has been convicted. We confirm the conviction
of Ramesh. However, Ramesh has been awarded death sentence. We would, at this juncture,
consider as to whether the death sentence is justified in the present case.
the Courts below have unanimously awarded death sentence to accused Ramesh,
treating this to be a rarest of the rare case. The Trial Court has held that it
was this accused Ramesh who inflicted injuries on both the deceased Ramlal and Shanti
Devi. The Trial Court referred to the reported decision in Shri Bhagwan v.
State of Rajasthan [2001 (6) SCC 296] and it is only on that ground that accused
Ramesh alone was condemned to death. We are not quite satisfied with the
reasoning given by the Trial Court. Before awarding the death sentence, the
Trial Court was expected to give elaborate reasons. We have gone through the appellate
The appellate Court's
judgment relied on the reported decision in Suhil Murmu v. State of Jharkhand [AIR
2004 SC 394] which observed that a balance-sheet of the aggravating and mitigating
circumstances has to be drawn up and further to accord full weightage to the 41
mitigating circumstances and then to strike just balance between the aggravating
and mitigating circumstances before the option is exercised. The appellate
Court has quoted paragraph 16 of that judgment and has given four circumstances
which may be relevant in awarding the death sentence. They are as under:
"The following guidelines
which emerge from Bachan Singh case (supra) will have to be applied to the facts
of each individual case where the question of imposition of death sentence
extreme penalty of death need not be inflicted except in gravest cases of extreme
opting for the death penalty the circumstances of the 'offender' also require to
be taken into consideration along with the circumstances of the 'crime'.
imprisonment is the rule and death sentence is an exception. Death sentence must
be imposed only when life imprisonment appears to be an altogether inadequate
punishment having regard to the relevant circumstances of the crime, and provided,
and only provided, the option to impose sentence of imprisonment for life cannot
be conscientiously exercised having regard to the nature and circumstances of
the crime and all the relevant circumstances.
balance sheet of aggravating and mitigating circumstances has to be drawn up and
in doing so the mitigating circumstances have to be accorded full weightage and
a just balance has to be struck between the aggravating and the mitigating circumstances
before the option is exercised.
our opinion, none of the four circumstances mentioned is available in the present
case. It is no doubt true that the murder of Ramlal and Shanti Devi was cruel. However,
that cannot be said to be brutal, grotesque and diabolical nor could it be said
that the murder was committed in a revolting manner so as to arise intense and
extreme indignation. This was not a case where accused Ramesh was in a
dominating position or in a position of trust nor could it be said to be a murder
for personal reasons. This is also not a case of bride burning or dowry death which
is committed in order to remarry for extracting dowry once again. Though this
is a double murder, it cannot be said to be a crime of enormous proportion. Ramesh
could not be said to be a person in a dominating position as this is not a murder
of an innocent child or a helpless woman or old or infirm person. This was
undoubtedly a murder for gains. The High Court has come out with a case that appellant
Ramesh was having criminal record. However, we do not find any previous
conviction having been proved against Ramesh by the prosecution. It is apparent
that the original intention was theft and on account of the deceased having been
awakened, the accused persons took the extreme step of eliminating 43 both the inmates
of the house for the fear of being detected.
cannot be said that it was Ramesh alone who has committed the murder only because
he was the one who discovered the murder weapon Jharbad. It is not clear from the
evidence as to who was the actual author of the injuries on Ramlal and Shanti Devi
though all the three were participants of the crime. There is no definite
evidence about the acts on the part of each of the accused. It will be, therefore,
difficult to say that Ramesh alone was the author of injuries on Ramlal as well
as Shanti Devi.
learned counsel relied on two decision of this Court, the first being Dilip Premnarayan
Tiwari v. State of Maharashtra [2010 (1) SCC 775]. The other decisions relied upon
is Mulla v. State of U.P. [2010 (3) SCC 508] as also Santosh Kumar Shantibhushan
Beriyar v. State of Maharashtra [2009 (6) SCC 498]. In Mulla's case in
paragraph 80 and 81, the Court held as under: "80.Another factor which unfortunately
has been left out in much judicial decision-making in sentencing is the
social-economic factors leading to crime. We at no stage suggest that economic depravity
justify moral depravity, but we 44 certainly recognize that in the real world, such
factors may lead a person to crime. The 48th Report of the Law Commission also reflected
this concern. Therefore, we believe, socio-economic factors might not dilute guilt,
but they may amount to mitigating factor i.e. the ability of the guilty to
It may not be
misplaced to note that a criminal who commits crimes due to his economic backwardness
is most likely to reform. This Court on many previous occasions has held that
his ability to reform amounts to a mitigating factor in cases of death penalty.
In the present case, the convicts belong to an extremely poor background. With lack
of knowledge, on the background of the appellants, we may not be certain as to their
past, but one thing which is clear to us is that they have committed these
heinous crimes for want of money. Though we are shocked by their deeds, we find
no reason why they cannot be reformed over a period of time." The observations
are extremely germane to the question before us.
can be no dispute that this was a case in which money was the motive. We have
already seen that the accused person do not come from a wealthy background. On the
other hand, it has been held that they could not justify the possession of
ornaments found with them. It has also been held that they were unlikely to own
the ornaments on account of their financial position.
the whole law on death sentence was referred to in Santosh Kumar's case. In
paragraph 56, the Court observed "the court must play a pro-active role to
record all relevant information at this stage. Some of the information relating
to crime can be culled out from the phase prior to sentencing hearing.
This information would
include aspects relating to the nature, motive and impact of crime, culpability
of convict etc. Quality of evidence is also a relevant factor. For instance, extent
of reliance on circumstantial evidence or child witness plays an important role
in the sentencing analysis. But what is sorely lacking, in most capital sentencing
cases, is information relating to characteristics and socio- economic background
of the offenders. This issue was also raised in 48th Report of the Law
Commission. The Court, thus, has in a guided manner referred to the quality of evidence
and has sounded a note of caution that in a case where the reliance is on
circumstantial evidence, that factor has to be taken into consideration while
awarding the death sentence.
This is also a case purely
on the circumstantial evidence. We should not be understood to say that in all cases
of circumstantial evidence, the death sentence cannot be given. In fact 46 in
Shivaji @ Dadya Shankar Alhat v. State of Maharashtra [2008 (15) SC 269], this Court
had awarded death sentence though the evidence was of circumstantial nature. All
that we say is that the case being dependent upon circumstantial evidence is one
of the relevant considerations. We have only noted it as one of the circumstances
in formulating the sentencing policy. Further in that case the Court upheld the
principles emanating from Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab [1980 (2) SCC 684]
where the probability that the accused can be reformed and rehabilitated was held
as one of the mitigating circumstances and it was observed that the State should,
by evidence prove that the accused does not satisfy these conditions, meaning thereby
that the accused is not likely to be reformed.
The Court went on to
hold that the rarest of rare dictum imposes a wide ranging embargo on the award
of death punishment which can only be revoked if the facts of the case
successfully satisfy double qualification : 1) that the case belongs to rarest
of the rare category and; 2) alternative option of life imprisonment will not suffice
in the facts of the case.
Court then observed that the rarest of the rare dictum places an extraordinary burden
on the Court. Considering these principles, we do not think that there was no possibility
of reformation of the accused persons. True it is that the accused were driven by
their avarice for wealth but given a chance there is every possibility of their
being reformed. We are also of the clear opinion that in this case it is not established
that alternative punishment of life imprisonment will be futile and would serve
no purpose. In paragraph 66 of Santosh Kumar's case (cited supra), the Court
observed that life imprisonment can be said to be completely futile only when the
sentencing aim of reformation can be said to be unachievable. The Court further
went on to say "therefore, being satisfied the second explanation of
rarest of rare doctrine the court will have to provide clear evidence as to why
the convict is not fit for any kind of reformative and rehabilitation scheme.
our opinion, there has been no such exercise taken either by the trial Court or
appellate Court nor do we find any discussion about the life imprisonment being
rendered futile and serving no purpose.
Bachan Singh's case (cited supra) the age of accused was held to be one of the mitigation
circumstances. Accused Ramesh is a young person. We do not see any reason as to
why he cannot be reformed and rehabilitated.
must also take into consideration that this was the first proved offence of accused
Ramesh. No other conviction has been proved against him by the prosecution.
Since this is his maiden conviction, we do not see as to how accused Ramesh cannot
be reformed. Further we do not see this to be an offence by the organized criminals
so as to affect the society as a whole.
counsel also relied on Dilip Premnarayan Tiwari v. State of Maharashtra (cited
supra) where the accused, who was guilty of three murders, was let off. That
was also a case of the accused being of young age. The Court also took into
consideration the argument that the deaths in that case were in reality not intended
deaths but the dead persons became the victims of the circumstances since the deceased
in that case tried to stop the assailants. The situation is somewhat similar here
though not identical. We have already mentioned that if the deceased Ramlal and
his wife had not been awakened, the ghastly incident might not have occurred. There
are number of other decisions which were relied upon by the learned counsel. However,
since we have referred to Santosh Kumar's case (cited supra) which has considered
the whole law on the subject, we find it unnecessary to repeat the same again.
has come in evidence in this case that the deceased Ramlal and Shanti Devi had
hair in their hands. The prosecution wanted to point out that it must be during
the scuffle that the two dying persons might have pulled the hair of the
assailants and this is how hair came in the hands of the deceased persons. It is
significant to note that on scientific examination, it could not be established
that hair in the hands of the deceased belonged to accused Ramesh. Though there
are other clinching circumstances also to hold that Ramesh and the two accused were
undoubtedly the assailants. This circumstance would also weigh in our mind in not
confirming the death sentence. We say this particularly in the light of the principles
emanating from Santosh Kumar's case.
we must take into consideration that Ramesh who was convicted and awarded the
death sentence by the learned Sessions Judge in 2004 is languishing in death cell
for more than six years. This also would be one of the mitigating
short, we are of the opinion that the death sentence awarded to Ramesh would not
be justified and instead we would modify the same to life imprisonment. However,
conviction for the other offences as also sentences awarded are confirmed. All
the three appeals are accordingly dismissed with the modifications of sentence in
Criminal Appeal No.1236 of 2006 filed by Ramesh.