IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPEALLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2371 OF 2010
State of M.P. ..Respondent
J U D G M E N T
Madan B. Lokur, J.
1. The appellant (Raghuvendra) is aggrieved by the judgment and
order dated 23rd October, 2008 passed by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh
in Criminal Appeal No.754 of 2000. By the judgment and order under appeal,
the conviction of the appellant for an offence punishable under Section 302
read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code was affirmed. We find no
merit in the appeal and it is dismissed.
2. On 10th February, 1998 the informant Gulab Ahirwar (PW-3) found
a dead body in his fields. He immediately informed the police and a first
information report was recorded on the basis of his information. A few
articles lying near the dead body were also recovered.
3. The dead body could not be immediately identified but
subsequently, in the course of investigations in a different case
altogether, the police apprehended Raghuvendra and during his interrogation
on 16th March, 1998 he confessed to killing the deceased with the
assistance of his uncle. Based on this statement given by Raghuvendra, the
dead body was identified with the assistance of Guddi Bai (PW-13, the widow
of the deceased) and Sadhana (PW-14, the daughter of the deceased).
4. It also transpired from the investigations that the deceased
Bhagwan Singh was known to Raghuvendra and his uncle. They were apparently
involved in several thefts and there was some dispute about sharing the
proceeds. Raghuvendra and his uncle would often visit Bhagwan Singh at his
residence and they would also consume liquor together.
5. On 9th February, 1998 Raghuvendra and his uncle came to the
house of the deceased in Vidhisha and they and the deceased left for
Bilaspur the next morning, that is on 10th February, 1998. It is soon
thereafter that the dead body of Bhagwan Singh was found in the fields of
Gulab Ahirwar (PW-3).
6. During the course of investigations, the investigating officer
also recovered, at the instance of Raghuvendra and his uncle certain
articles of the deceased in Bhopal.
7. On these broad facts, a charge-sheet was filed and Raghuvendra
and his uncle were charged with having murdered Bhagwan Singh and thereby
having committed an offence punishable under Section 302 read with Section
34 of the IPC. Both of them pleaded not guilty and were therefore tried by
the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Khurai, District Sagar (Madhya
Pradesh). Vide his judgment and order dated 5th February, 2000 in Sessions
Case No.205 of 1998 the learned Additional Sessions Judge found Raghuvendra
and his uncle guilty of having caused the murder of Bhagwan Singh.
8. The two principal grounds on which the conviction of
Raghuvendra and his uncle was based were the statement of Guddi Bai (PW-
13), Sadhana (PW-14) as well as the medical evidence. The learned
Additional Sessions Judge concluded that there was no reason to disbelieve
Guddi Bai and Sadhana and he was of the opinion that based on their
statement, the recovery of articles belonging to the deceased at the
instance of Raghuvendra and his uncle and on the basis of the ‘last seen
theory’, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to convict them.
9. Feeling aggrieved by the judgment and order of the learned
Additional Sessions Judge, Raghuvendra and his uncle preferred an appeal in
the High Court of Madhya Pradesh which came to be dismissed by the judgment
and order under appeal.
10. The High Court examined the record of the case and also found that
there was no reason to disbelieve Guddi Bai and Sadhana. Both witnesses
knew Raghuvendra and his uncle quite well since they were frequent visitors
to their house. The High Court also came to the conclusion that the ‘last
seen theory’ was applicable to the facts of the case since Raghuvendra and
his uncle had visited the house of the deceased on 9th February, 1998,
stayed overnight and left with him for Bilaspur in the morning on 10th
February, 1998. It is soon thereafter that the dead body of Bhagwan Singh
was recovered from the fields of Gulab Ahirwar (PW-3) though it was not
immediately identified. These facts coupled with the recovery of certain
articles belonging to the deceased at the instance of Raghuvendra and his
uncle were relied upon by the High Court to confirm their conviction.
11. Only Raghuvendra has challenged his conviction before us – his uncle
has not preferred any petition in this court.
12. There is no doubt that Raghuvendra knew the deceased quite well and
perhaps they were involved in some thefts. Guddi Bai and Sadhana also knew
Raghuvendra since he was a frequent visitor to their house. The
identification of Raghuvendra therefore is not an issue before us.
13. It has also come on record that Raghuvendra and his uncle had stayed
overnight at the residence of the deceased in Vidhisha on 9th February,
1998 and left the next morning for Bilaspur with Bhagwan Singh. It is on
the morning of 10th February, 1998 that the dead body of Bhagwan Singh was
found in the fields of Gulab Ahirwar (PW-3) who gave a statement on the
basis of which the first information report was registered.
14. The fact that the deceased was ‘last seen’ with Raghuvendra and his
dead body was found soon thereafter coupled with the fact that certain
articles belonging to the deceased were recovered from the custody of
Raghuvendra and his uncle at their instance leaves no room for doubt that
the three of them were travelling together. Among the articles recovered
from Raghuvendra and his uncle was a purse belonging to the deceased and
some other personal effects including clothing. These were identified as
belongings of the deceased and were perhaps carried by him while travelling
15. There is no manner of doubt, on these facts, that the death of
Bhagwan Singh was caused by Raghuvendra and his uncle. No other inference
is possible or even suggested.
16. No substantial question of law has arisen in this case and on the
facts as found by the learned Additional Sessions Judge as well as by the
High Court we see no reason to interfere with the conviction of Raghuvendra
for an offence punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the
17. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.
( Madan B. Lokur )
( N.V. Ramana )
January 07, 2015