New Delhi: Rage-related crime over trivial issues are on the rise in the national capital rendering it useless to speculate the motive of such offence, the Delhi High Court observed while upholding the life sentence of a man for killing his business associate in a fit of rage.
"It may be true that the prosecution has not been able to prove a motive. But in most cases motive is very difficult to be proved. God knows what happened, but something certainly happened.
"In the city of Delhi, virtually every week there is a newspaper report of rage-related crime over trivial issues and thus it would be useless for us to speculate on a motive," a division bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Gupta said.
The bench concurred with the trial court verdict awarding life imprisonment to property dealer Pardeep Khatri for killing his 24-year-old colleague Ajay Maan on the day of his engagement on March 8 in 2008, a day before his marriage.
The incident happened after there was a verbal altercation between some persons on the dance floor.
While delivering the verdict, the bench also slammed the magistrates who dealt with the case for their "insensitivity" as well as for delaying the proceedings by granting repeated adjournments on the request of the counsel for the accused.
The court was of the view that in high-profile cases where there was a possibility of eyewitnesses being threatened, coerced or bought, they should be examined with utmost dispatch.
The court made the observation in reference to one of the witnesses turning hostile during the proceedings.
A trial court on October 31 last year had awarded life term to Khatri and also imposed a fine of Rs 60,000 on him. However, another accused Ravi Tyagi was let off as the prosecution failed to prove its case against him.
The high court also said it was "disturbed and anguished" at the way the lower court judges, who were seized of the trial, conducted the proceedings in the case and kept on adjourning the matter.
"We need not note the case law, which is legion, on the subject of eyewitnesses to a crime being examined with utmost despatch because of the possibility of they being threatened, coerced or bought over i.E. Suborned. Especially in high profile cases where the accused are rich and mighty.
"Regretfully, the two trial judges, the first who dealt with the matter till August 18, 2008 and the second who dealt with the matter thereafter, simply kept on adjourning the matter at the request of counsel for the accused.
"Indeed, one grievance made by counsel for the mother of the deceased, Chela Devi, was to the insensitivity shown by the trial judges in not ensuring hearing of the charge to be completed at the earliest and the result thereof being Rajesh Maan (prime witness) turning hostile," the bench said.
According to police, Maan, a property dealer, was shot dead by Khatri and Tyagi at his engagement party in Alipur here.