New Delhi: A Delhi court has sentenced three members of a family to life imprisonment for killing their neighbour, relying on the testimony of sole witness and ruing police failure to gather some key evidence due to defective probe.
Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Pawan Jain sentenced Central Delhi residents Naval Kishore, Devender and Chander Prakash to life imprisonment for killing their neighbour Dalip by stabbing and shooting him on January 16 last year.
The trio were held guilty on the testimony of Dalip’s brother-in-law Virender Kumar, who deposed that he had seen Naval and Devender assaulting Dalip with a knife and Chander shooting him with a country-made pistol after which they had fled on a motorcycle.
While convicting the trio, the court, however, noted the prosecution had failed to establish the motive or "prove the recovery" of the weapons used in crime and the only evidence that remained was the testimony of eye-witness Virender.
"No doubt in the instant case, prosecution has failed to prove the connected evidence such as recovery of knife, recovery of motorcycle and recovery of pistol. Recovery of pistol was the most relevant evidence to bring home the guilt of accused persons as it would have helped prosecution to establish that the recovered cartridges were fired from the said pistol.
"Unfortunately due to defects in investigation, prosecution failed to establish the recovery beyond the shadow of all reasonable doubts," said the court lamenting that "the prosecution failed to prove the above connected evidence."
It, however, convicted the trio pointing out that "section 134 of Indian Evidence says no particular number of witnesses shall in any case be required for proof of any fact" and that "conviction can be based on the solitary statement of a witness, if the court comes to the conclusion that the said statement is the true and correct version of the case."
While sentencing the trio, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 1.65 lakh on Chander and Rs 75,000 each on Naval and Devender.
Since the deceased is survived by his wife and two minor sons, the court said they are entitled to compensation and recommended their names to the District Legal Service Authority for adequate compensation.
The court acquitted Chander Prakash from the Arms Act as the police could not prove the recovery of pistol beyond reasonable doubt.
Lamenting the manner in which the police conducted the investigation, the court said, "It is pertinent to state that the manner in which the investigation was conducted and deposition made by the police officials is not appreciable.
"Even investigating officers were not vigilant at the time of recording the disclosure statement of the accused persons. Since in such heinous offences, prosecution cannot tolerate such type of lapses, thus it is essential that the same should be brought in the notice of higher authority to take appropriate steps to ensure that the same should not be repeated in future.
"With this hope and trust, copy of judgment be sent to Commissioner of Police to enable him to take appropriate steps as he deems fit," the court said.