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SC upholds life term for six in Manjuth murder case

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, March 11: The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the life sentence of six people convicted for the killing of Indian Oil Corporation’s sales officer S. Manjuth after he hauled up a petrol pump dealer for malpractices and irregularities in the operation of the petrol pump. An inspection by Manjuth resulted in the suspension of supply to the said petrol pump in Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh. The supply of petrol was restored only after the owner paid a fine of Rs.75,000. Manjuth again inspected the pump suspecting that the owner was continuing with the malpractices. Agreeing with the findings of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court and the trial court convicting and awarding life imprisonment to six people, the apex court bench of Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya and Justice N.V. Rama said: “The nexus between the accused to do away with the deceased has been established by the prosecution beyond all reasoble doubt.”

“In the present case, on scrutiny of evidence on record, we are convinced that the prosecution had established beyond reasoble doubt the complete chain of events which points at the guilt of the accused,” said Justice Rama, speaking for the bench. Brushing aside the contention that the number of bullets used in the crime was not proportiote to the number of bullets hitting the deceased, the court said: “In every case of gun firing, it is not required that each and every bullet should hit the target.” “There may be attempts by the deceased or the victim to save himself from the raining bullets, and in which case, the bullets may not hit the target. Merely because all the bullets fired from the gun did not hit the target and were not recovered from the scene of offence, is no ground to conclude that the incident did not take place.” Addressing the contention that there were contradictions in the evidence tendered by the prosecution witnesses, the court said: “No true witness can possibly escape from making some discrepant details. But courts should bear in mind that it is only when discrepancies in the evidence of a witness are so incompatible with the credibility of his version that the court is justified in jettisoning his evidence.”

The court said: “We are of the considered opinion that such minor discrepancies should not come in the way of the other strong circumstantial evidence, cumulatively taken together, forms a complete chain of events, pointing towards the guilt of the accused in the commission of the crime.” (ians)

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