Delhi: Murder case falls apart in court, 5 get clean chit

During the trial, eyewitness Basant Kumar told the court that 25 people had entered his office and assaulted Gurudas.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: March 26, 2016 3:13 am

Pointing out some glaring flaws in the probe carried out by Delhi Police in a 2015 murder case, a court recently acquitted all five accused and raised questions about the manner in which the incident was investigated.
The court has raised questions about police about the absence of a DNA report, conflicting versions of how the victim was killed and the main eyewitness failing to identify any of the accused.

Five of the accused – Amit Maan, Ravi, Umed, Ram Singh and Kuldeep — were acquitted of charges of murder, kidnapping and sections of the Arms Act after Additional Sessions Judge Manoj Jain said the court was “inclined to give the benefit of doubt” to them.

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The case: According to police, on April 10, 2015, Gurudas, an employee of a finance company, was with his friend Basant Kumar in their office when the five accused barged inside. They allegedly attacked him with sticks and a knife, before abducting him. Another eyewitness, Khushal, told police that a black Mahindra XUV was also used in the alleged abduction. The vehicle was found abandoned in Sultanpur village a day later, and two dandas (sticks) were recovered from it, said police.

Two days later, Gurudas’s body was found in a drain in Jharoda village in Haryana. Police claimed that the main accused, Amit Maan, had admitted that he and his associates had strangulated the victim and dumped his body in the drain.

How the case fell apart:

Key witness turned hostile: During the trial, eyewitness Basant Kumar told the court that 25 people had entered his office and assaulted Gurudas. However, he said none of them were present in court. He later claimed that police had placed several papers in front of him, and he had signed them “as per asking of the police”. Kumar said he had not given any names of the accused to police and no sticks, allegedly used in the assault, were recovered in his presence. The court observed that Kumar’s deposition had caused “irreparable damage” to Delhi Police’s case.

No DNA report and delay in sending samples for forensic analysis: The Delhi Police had claimed that forensic analysis of samples — “rexine piece” from the seats of the two vehicles — had shown the “presence of human blood”, to prove the allegation of murder. But the court said forensic analysis had not shown “that it was the blood of the deceased”. It further pulled up police for the inordinate delay in documenting the sample. In the absence of a DNA report, there was nothing to prove that the blood samples belonged to the victim, said the court. “DNA report has not been submitted. There is nothing to show that such blood was of deceased. Secondly, I have already noted… that the XUV was found in abandoned condition and, therefore, it cannot be linked with accused,” the court added.

Death due to strangulation, not due to injuries related to a beating: The court rejected Delhi Police’s claim — that Gurudas was killed after being beaten by sticks — observing that this version “does not stand with the incident in question by any stretch of imagination”. Forensic analysis of the sticks had shown that “no blood could be detected” on them.

Recovery of the car “highly doubtful”: The court said, “… there is nothing before me to substantiate that these two vehicles were used by the accused at the time of … offence”.

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