The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted bail to a man accused of killing his own daughter for marrying against his wishes noting that it was undisputedly a case based on circumstantial evidence.
Justice Prakash Deo Naik was hearing via video conferencing a bail application filed by Rajkumar Chaurasiya, a man accused of committing offence punishable under Section 302 of IPC. After his daughter's body was found near a footpath in Ghatkopar, he was arrested on July 15, 2019 and has been in jail since then.
According to the prosecution, the deceased performed her marriage against the wishes of the applicant. The husband of the deceased wanted to go to their native place along with the deceased, which was not liked by the applicant as it would "cause damage to his reputation."
Therefore, on July 13, 2019, the applicant called the deceased at the place of incident and murdered her with a sickle. Body of the victim was thrown near a footpath at Ghatkopar. After the body was recovered and the investigation began, the applicant was arrested. During the course of the investigation, the said sickle was recovered from the applicant. On completing the investigation, chargesheet was filed.
Advocate Ganesh Gupta submitted on behalf of the applicant and submitted that the entire case is based on circumstantial evidence. There is no cogent evidence against the applicant, and he has been in custody from the day of the arrest. Also, there are no criminal antecedents against him. The relationship between the applicant and deceased was cordial, Adv Gupta said.
Moreover, the recovery under Section 27 cannot be relied upon, as the statement mentions that a knife was used in commission of crime and what is recovered is a sickle. The statement of the maker of this particular sickle has not been recorded but the statement of the person who sold the alleged sickle to the applicant has been recorded. But there is discrepancy in the identification of the accused, as the accused was shown to him at the police station, without conducting identification parade. The tower location of the applicant would at the most show the presence of the applicant at Kurla,whereas, the body of the deceased was found at Ghatkopar, Adv Gupat contended.
On the other hand, Additional Public Prosecutor Rutuja Ambekar submitted that there is a strong motive for the applicant to commit the crime. The CDR shows that there were several calls between the applicant and deceased on the date of incident. The tower location shows that the applicant was present at the place of incident with the deceased. The statement of the person who sold the sickle to the applicant shows the complicity of the applicant in the crime as he has identified the applicant. Furthermore, the CCTV footage showed that the applicant had consumed juice at the shop situated at Sion, and the shop owner has identified the applicant. Thus there is strong evidence against the applicant, APP Ambekar argued.
Finally, the Court observed-
"Undisputedly, the case is based on circumstantial evidence. Although, body was found on the footpath at Ghatkopar, there is no eyewitness to the incident. There is discrepancy in the statement leading to recovery as pointed by learned counsel for the applicant. The alleged discovery statement mentions that the accused is willing to show the knife used in crime and the sickle was recovered. On perusal of the police report with regards to tower location, it does not appear that the applicant was at Ghatkopar."
Justice Naik also did not accept the prosecution's contention relying upon the CDR to show that there were calls between the applicant and the deceased-
"Since the deceased was the daughter of the applicant no adverse inference can be drawn with regards to such calls. The person who had allegedly sold sickle to the applicant has identified the accused at the police station. No identification parade was conducted."
Thus, bail was allowed and the applicant was permitted to furnish a provisional cash bail of Rs. 25,000 in lieu of surety for a period of 12 weeks.
Case Number: Criminal Bail Application No.314 of 2020
Case Name: Rajkumar Chaurasiya Vs. State of Maharashtra
Coram: PD Naik J
Counsel: Adv. Ganesh Gupta for the Applicant and APP Rujuta Ambekar for the State