The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday acquitted a man, who was awarded death penalty by a local court for murdering his mother, wife and a four-year-old son in Tanda, Ambedkar Nagar in 2013.
Pronouncing the judgment, a division bench of justices RR Awasthi and V K Srivastav held that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and hence, the conviction and sentence did not sustain in the eyes of law.
Appellant Ram Kumar Saini had challenged before the Lucknow bench of the high court the verdict of the additional sessions judge, Ambedkar Nagar, passed on February 15, 2017, whereby he was held guilty for the triple murder so that he could have an illicit relationship with a woman.
Arguing for the appellant, senior lawyer Nagendra Mohan pleaded that the entire case was based on circumstantial evidence and there was no direct evidence against his client.
He argued that the informant was the appellant’s father-in-law, who had lodged a case against him when he had eloped with his daughter.
“The other witnesses are the informant’s wife, son and daughter, whose testimony cannot be safely relied upon for want of other corroborative evidence,” the appellant’s counsel said.
“That too, the informant filed an FIR 17 days after the incident, whereas he was present at the time of inquest and post-mortem,” he argued.
Opposing the appeal, government advocate Vimal Srivastav pleaded that four persons, including the appellant, lived in the house and hence, it was for him to explain the deaths of the three other members of the family, who died of poisoning.
After hearing both sides, the bench found out that the FIR was registered 17 days later while the police of Tanda Kotwali was informed about the incident by a relative on the very day — April 19, 2013.
Later, the police registered an FIR, got a confessional statement of the appellant and then filed a charge sheet in the case after recording the statements of the informant and his family members.
The police had, however, not agreed to the theory of illicit relationship.
In view of this, the bench concluded that the prosecution’s version of the incident was not reliable and the trial court had erred in convicting and sentencing the appellant.
Allowing the appeal, the bench further declined to confirm the reference sent by the trial court to uphold the death penalty.