SC exonerates two murder accused after 25-year-long trial

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New Delhi, Oct 31 (UNI) Two men booked on charges of murder and kidnapping had to face a trial spanning over 25 long years before being acquitted by the Supreme Court.

They were charged with murdering the maternal grandfather of one of the appellants' 16-year-old wife, whom they had kidnapped and forcibly married.

Strangely enough, none of the courts, from the trial court to the Supreme Court, have recorded any finding on the allegations of kidnapping the girl and then marrying her foribly.

According to the prosecution, appellant Asraf SK allegedly kidnapped the 16-year-old granddaughter of 65-year-old Shibcharan Pal, who was allegedly murdered on August 18, 1983, when he protested against the assualt on his two daughters by Asraf and Rasheed Maula.

The Additional Session Judge, 24, Parganas (south), in West Bengal convicted the two for the offence of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The Calcutta High Court upheld the trial court order. A third accused in the case Basir SK was, however, acquitted.

Acording to prosecution, Pasani Pal, mother of the girl, and her sister Anita Pal were allegedly assaulted by the two accused when the mother started screaming on seeing them. They approached local leader and member of local panchayat Shah Alam Maula but he did not help them.

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma while acquitting the two accused in their judgement noted that the circumstances did not present a complete chain of circumstances. The testimony of prosecution witnesses, the two daughters, on which strong reliance was placed by the trial court and the high court were full of contradictions.

One of them stated that she had seen the actual assualt. This was contrary to her statement recorded during the investigation.

The police also chargesheeted the accused persons only for the offence of the murder and not for the offences of kidnapping, criminal trespass and assualt on the two women.

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