Criminal Appeal No. 560 of 2014. Case: Anjan Kumar Sarma & Ors. Vs State of Assam. Supreme Court
|Case Number:||Criminal Appeal No. 560 of 2014|
|Party Name:||Anjan Kumar Sarma & Ors. Vs State of Assam|
|Judges:||L. Nageswara Rao and Navin Sinha, JJ,|
|Issue:||Indian Penal Code - Sections 302, 201, 34; Criminal Procedure Code - Section 313|
|Judgement Date:||May 23, 2017|
L. Nageswara Rao, J.
The Appellants along with Jitendra Nath Kakati alias Jit Kakati were charged for committing offences under Section 302, 376 (2) (g), 201 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as the ''IPC''). Accused Jit Kakati was separately charged under Section 366-A IPC. The Appellants and Jit Kakati were acquitted of all the charges framed against them. The High Court reversed the acquittal and convicted the Appellants and Jit Kakati for offences under Section 302, 201 read with Section 34 IPC and sentenced them to life imprisonment after acquitting them for an offence under Section 376 (2) (g) read with Section 34 IPC. Jit Kakati was acquitted for offences under Section 366-A IPC. Aggrieved by the conviction under Section 302 read with 34 IPC, the Appellants have filed these Appeals. It is relevant to mention here that Jit Kakati filed Criminal Appeal No.1305 of 2014 which abated due to his death.
Appellant 1, 2 and Jit Kakati worked as Assistant Managers of Gotanga tea estate at the relevant time. Appellant No.3 was working as a welfare officer of Sangsua tea estate and Appellant No.4 was working as the Assistant Manager of Gobindapur tea estate. Both Gotanga and Sangsua tea estate were under the same management. Jit Kakati and Anjan Kumar Sharma, the first Appellant, were living in bungalow No.17 in Gotanga tea estate. Jit Kakati was staying in one part of the Director''s bungalow situated in Sangsua tea estate when he was working as Assistant Manager at Sangsua tea estate prior to his transfer to Gotanga tea estate. Even after his transfer and allotment of bungalow No. 17 in Gotanga tea estate, Jit Kakati was still in occupation of the Director''s bungalow at Sangsua tea estate.
Rekha Dutta was residing in a house situated near the Director''s bungalow at Sangsua tea estate. Jit Kakati developed intimacy with Rekha Dutta. On 27.12.1992 Rekha Dutta went inside the Director''s bungalow of Sangsua tea estate to fetch water. Jit Kakati called her inside the bungalow and Rekha Dutta stayed in the bungalow for a considerable period of time. Sarumai Halwai (PW-1) informed Jibon Dutta (PW-20) the elder brother of Rekha Dutta about his sister spending considerable time inside the bungalow along with Jit Kakati. PW-20 who was working as a Chowkidar at Sangsua tea estate at the relevant time sent his sister Jun Moni Dutta (PW-2) to the Director''s bungalow to see whether Rekha Dutta was in the bungalow. PW-2 visited the bungalow and found that Rekha Dutta was sitting in a room along with Jit Kakati. On the basis of the said information, PW-20 went to the Director''s bungalow and questioned the conduct of Jit Kakati. Jit Kakati informed PW-20 that he proposes to marry Rekha Dutta. PW-20 told Jit Kakati that a decision regarding the marriage can be taken only after consultation with his relatives. As per the prosecution version, PW-20 sent one Ranjit Halwai to call his relatives. All the accused along with Rekha Dutta left the Director''s bungalow of Sangsua tea estate on two motor cycles before the relatives of PW-20 reached the spot. They went to bungalow No.17 in the adjacent Gotanga tea estate. Rekha Dutta was seen at bungalow No.17 on the evening of 27.12.1992 till 9:00 pm by Fulu Turi (PW-4) and Bhai Turi (PW-5). As the whereabouts of Rekha Dutta thereafter were not known to PW-20 and her other family members, they started making enquires on 28.12.1992. As they could not locate Rekha Dutta, PW-20 approached the officer in charge Pulibar Police Station, District Jorhat and submitted an ejahar (F.I. statement). PW-20 stated in the ejahar that Jit Kakati eloped with Rekha Dutta at 4:30 pm on 27.12.1992 and thereafter her whereabouts were not known.
An FIR was registered at 10:15 am on 29.12.1992. The Investigating Officer (PW-21) commenced his investigation by going to the Sangsua tea estate and started examining witnesses. At about 1:50 pm he received information about a dead body lying on the railway track. He went to the railway track near Gotanga tea estate and found the severed pieces of a girl''s dead body lying on the railway track. He conducted inquest on the body of the girl which was cut into pieces by the train. The body parts were found lying scattered within 40 feet area of the railway track. The head and left leg were not found with the other parts of the body. The right leg was cut into pieces from thigh to knee, the leg was almost severed but for a strand of skin. The left hand was broken but attached to the body. The left leg was missing. The body was identified by PW-20 to be that of Rekha Dutta, on the basis of the clothes that she was wearing. The Appellants and Jit Kakati voluntarily surrendered before the police. Pursuant to a disclosure statement made by Jit Kakati on 31.12.1992, a Khukri was recovered from the wardrobe of Jit Kakati at bungalow No.17, Gotanga tea estate.
The post mortem on the body was conducted by Dr. Golap Chandra Deka (PW-11) on 30.12.1992 who opined that death was due to shock and coma as a result of craniocerebral injuries. The following injuries were found on the body of the deceased:-
"A portion of the calvarium including frontal, temporal and parietal region is detached with one bone deep incised wound of size 10 m x 2 cm on the left side with total avulsion on the remaining sides. The detached portion of the skull bone was covered with skull and long black hairs. The cut margin of the left side of the separated skull shows bevelling. Blood clot present in an around the cut edges and beneath the scalp. The brain matter is not found in situ.
Remaining portion of the skull with periorbital region with its contents are crushed just above the upper lip and up of nose upwards. Right ear absent, left ear only attached with skin.
Multiple, almost parallel superficial bruises obliquely placed, encircling the distal portion of both forearms.
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