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ShankarYadav

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This case is a glaring example of how cause of justice can be defeated by inefficient, lackadaisical and incompetent investigating agency.= We began by commenting on the unhappy conduct of the investigating agency. We conclude by reaffirming our view. We are distressed at the way in which the investigation of this case was carried out. It is true that acquitting the accused merely on the ground of lapses or irregularities in the investigation of a case would amount to putting premium on the deprecable conduct of an incompetent investigating agency at the cost of the victims which may lead to encouraging perpetrators of crimes. This Court has laid down that the lapses or irregularities in the investigation could be ignored subject to a rider. They can be ignored only if despite their existence, the evidence on record bears out the case of the prosecution and the evidence is of sterling quality. If the lapses or irregularities do not go to the root of the matter, if they do not dislodge the substratum of the prosecution case, they can be ignored. In this case, the lapses are very serious. PW-5 Jaldhari Yadav is a pancha to the seizure panchnama under which weapons and other articles were seized from the scene of offence and also to the inquest panchnama. Independent panchas have not been examined. The investigating officer has stated in his evidence that the seized articles were not sent to the court along with the charge-sheet. They were kept in the Malkhana of the police station. He has admitted that the seized articles were not sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory. No explanation is offered by him about the missing sanha entries. His evidence on that aspect is evasive. Clothes of the deceased were not sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory. The investigating officer admitted that no seizure list of the clothes of the deceased was made. Blood group of the deceased was not ascertained. No link is established between the blood found on the seized articles and the blood of the deceased. It is difficult to make allowance for such gross lapses. Besides, the evidence of eye-witnesses does not inspire confidence. Undoubtedly, a grave suspicion is created about the involvement of the accused in the offence of murder. It is well settled that suspicion, however strong, cannot take the place of proof. In such a case, benefit of doubt must go to the accused. In the circumstances, we quash and set aside the impugned judgment and order. The appellants-accused are in jail. We direct that the appellants – A1-Sunil Kundu, A2-Bablu Kundu, A3-Nageshwar Prasad Sah and A4-Hira Lal Yadav be released forthwith unless otherwise required in any other case. 20. The appeals are disposed of in the aforestated terms.

Page 1 REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1073 OF 2008 SUNIL KUNDU AND ANR. … APPELLANTS Versus STATE OF JHARKHAND … RESPONDENT WITH CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1419 OF 2008 HIRA LAL YADAV … APPELLANT Versus STATE OF JHARKHAND … RESPONDENT WITH CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1512 OF 2009 NAGESHWAR … Continue reading

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