SC acquits two accused of rape-cum-murder

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New Delhi, Oct 29 (UNI) The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal of the state of Uttar Pradesh and directed the acquittal of two, who were sentenced to death by a trial court, in the rape-cum-murder of a 14-year-old girl in Unnao district of the state.

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and Harjit Singh Bedi directed the acquittal of the two and upheld the judgement of the Allahabad High Court.

Earlier, a trial court had sentenced them to death. According to the prosecution case, the victim was raped and killed on November 17, 1992, when she was going to answer the call of nature.

The police pressed the dog squad into service and sniffer dogs reached the residence of one of the accused Shiv Balak. Tumbler of Shiv Balak also recovered from the place of occurrence.

On December 2, police also arrested Ram Balak and his tumbler was recovered at his instance. Ram Balak later allegedly confessed before one Iqbal Ahmed about his guilt.

The Fifth Additional Session Judge sentenced them to death for murder and also handed down life imprisonment for rape and seven years imprisonment for destruction of evidence.

The trial court made a reference to the Allahabad High Court for confirmation of the death sentence. The High Court, however, rejected the reference and directed the acquittal of the accused.

The apex court in its judgement said, ''Out of the circumstances highlighted above really none is of any significance.

''To add to the vulnerability to the alleged extra judicial confession of Ram Balak, his statement is to the effect that after about 11 days of the incident the extra judicial confession was made.'' The court further said, ''Strangely, he stated that he told the police after the three days of the incident about the extra judicial confession and did not say a word about his own involvement as per the statement of Iqbal Ahmed, a witness in the case, recorded by the court.

''It is inconceivable that a person would tell the police after three days of the incident about the purported extra judicial confession which according to the witness himself was made after 11 days.'' The apex court did not find the remaining evidence of the prosecution sufficient enough to hold the two guilty of the heinous crime since the case was purely based on circumstantial evidence.

UNI SC SW RP BD1730

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