SC upholds acquittal of ex-Army officer in murder case

Lt Col S J Chaudhary, now 78, who was convicted and sentenced to life term by a lower court after facing trial for 26 years, was acquitted by the high court in 2009

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: December 18, 2016 2:13 pm
 S J Chaudhary, army chief  S J Chaudhary, kishan sikand, kishan sikand murder, businessman murder, india news An apex court bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy dismissed the appeals of CBI and family members of the victim

It is “unfortunate that a crime is going unpunished”. This was the observation and finding of the Delhi High Court as it acquitted a former Army officer in a 34-year old murder of a Delhi businessman, saying it “cannot hang any person” if evidence on record does not conclusively establish his guilt. The order has now been upheld as “plausible, logical and persuasive” by the Supreme Court that also rapped CBI for failing to bring home the guilt of the accused. The case relates to the murder of a famous Delhi businessman, 40-year-old Kishan Sikand who was killed in a blast when he opened a parcel containing explosives in 1982.

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Lt Col S J Chaudhary, now 78, who was convicted and sentenced to life term by a lower court after facing trial for 26 years, was acquitted by the high court in 2009 after being absolved of charges of murder and under the Explosive Substances Act. The order was upheld by the apex court, which observed that “CBI has failed to bring home the guilt of the accused”.

An apex court bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy dismissed the appeals of CBI and family members of the victim, who was the son of Sikand Motors showroom owner H D Sikand, challenging Chaudhary’s acquittal, saying the high court’s findings are “plausible, logical and persuasive” and it commands for affirmation.

“Accordingly, in our opinion, the high court has correctly come to the conclusion after analysing the facts and the evidence. In our opinion, the arguments which have been put forward in the matter by the counsel appearing on behalf of Chaudhary, are much more acceptable in the facts and circumstances of this case.

“The findings recorded by the High Court are plausible, logical and persuasive, reached by the materials on record and command for affirmation. Thus, we do not have any hesitation to hold that the high court has correctly come to the conclusions with the reasons given therefor. Accordingly, we do not find any merit in these appeals which are hereby dismissed,” the bench said.

The top court said it appeared that the case was totally dependent on circumstantial evidence and held that the CBI has failed to bring home the guilt of the accused.

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