HC frees woman convicted of murdering `alleged` husband

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 15:14

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has
acquitted a woman, who was sentenced to life for murdering her
`husband` allegedly to grab a house bought by him in her name,
after finding that she was neither married to the man nor the
house was bought by him.

While acquitting Ghonda resident Shakuntla after
discovering facts starkly opposed to those on which her
conviction had been based, a bench of justices Anil Kumar and
SL Bhayana held that the "trial court erred" in convicting
the woman.

"The trial court`s reliance on such weak evidence
which in the present facts and circumstances appears to have
been planted, is unsustainable and thus liable to be set
aside," the bench said, while also pointing out that no motive
could be attributed to the convict for committing the crime.

Shakuntala was convicted and sentenced to life
imprisonment by the trial court on September 11, 2001 for
murdering her alleged husband Joginder Singh, whose body was
found near a pond at Usman village in east Delhi on April 18,
1996.

As per the prosecution case, Shakuntla was married to
Joginder and had bought a house in her name but after
relations between the two turned sour, he began pressurising
her to sell the house and give half of the money to him. This
led to the murder, the prosecution alleged.

But while adjudicating Shakuntala`s appeal against her
conviction, the high court found that the house, which was
allegedly bought by Joginder, was in the name of Shakuntala`s
mother and the prosecution had failed to explain it.

To prove that the woman was married to the slain man,
and the two were living together as husband and wife, the
prosecution also produced a photocopy of a ration card issued
on November 17, 1992.

But Shakuntla`s counsel Ritu Gauba pointed out to the
court that Joginder was arrested in 1992 under anti-terror law
TADA and had been in jail for almost three years. And the
prosecution failed to explain as to how a ration card in
Joginder`s name could be prepared when he was in jail.

The address on the ration card too was not the one at
which Shakuntla was alleged to be living with Joginder, argued
Gauba, while adding that her client was married to one Pritam
Singh.

"The prosecution has utterly failed to establish the
motive of the crime," the bench said, adding, "In the totality
of the facts and circumstances its not only that some of the
important links in the chain of circumstantial evidence is
missing but in our opinion the entire chain of events is
missing."

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 15:14

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