Observing that there was no sufficient ground to proceed against a Navi Mumbai-based businessman or any evidence that creates grave suspicion against him, the Bombay High Court recently discharged him from the Sunil Kumar Lahoria murder case. Lahoria had been gunned down in February 2013.
Justice A M Badar last week discharged Bhupesh Gupta, who runs a cable business, after holding that the chargesheet filed by the police and the witness statements do not conclusively reveal his role in the murder case.
Gupta had approached the High Court seeking to be discharged from the case after a sessions court rejected his application in July. “The entire material found against the petitioner, if taken at its face value, does not disclose existence of all ingredients constituting the alleged offence,” said Justice Badar.
In his petition, Gupta argued that his case and role, as alleged by the prosecution, was similar to another accused Sumeet Bachewar, who has been discharged from the case. Gupta’s counsel argued that his client was into cable business and had no connection to the businesses of builders and developers.
He noted that no witness statement even remotely reveals any incriminating material against Gupta. “There is not an iota of evidence regarding transmission of thoughts and sharing unlawful design between the petitioner and other co-accused,” said the court. “There is no material even to suggest remotely that prior to the incident or after, Bhupesh Gupta contacted the main accused Suresh Bijlani or any other accused,” the court said, adding that even the chargesheet does not reveal any role of Gupta in the conspiracy.
“From the witness statements and other evidence, it appears that the petitioner (Gupta) used to just visit co-accused Suresh Bijlani’s office. By mere visits and meeting with a co-accused, such visitor cannot be said to be one of the conspirators,” said Justice Badar.
“In the case at hand, a bare glance at the sessions court order will show that the same is perverse and suffering from total non-application of mind,” Justice Badar said in his order discharging Gupta.
Lahoria, a Navi Mumbai-based builder, was shot at by assailants outside his office in February 2013. He died later in a hospital. A total of 14 people were arrested in connection with the case and booked under various sections of the IPC for murder and criminal conspiracy.