A 25-year-old man was acquitted on Friday of murdering his girlfriend three years ago after a key witness told the court that he was forced to sign an extra-judicial confession after being illegally detained by the police.
The court also disregarded the CCTV footage of the shop from where the man had purchased the murder weapon after the police failed to produce a certificate of its authenticity.
Ramakant Sontakke, a resident of Kanjurmag was arrested in July 2013 after being charged with killing Pooja Gaikwad (22), with whom he had been in a relationship for three years. According to the prosecution’s case, a few days before the murder, they had a heated argument in which Ramakant abused Pooja.
On July 5, he asked her to meet him at Karve Nagar in Kanjurmarg around 9 pm. According to police, he stabbed her repeatedly with a knife he had purchased a few hours ago from a shop in Ghatkopar, and fled from the spot.
He then dumped his blood-stained clothes at home before calling a few friends to tell them that he had met with an accident and asked them to meet him at Rajawadi Hospital. One of the friends, the police said, was Pooja’s brother.
According to police, Ramakant had confessed to a friend about the murder, and he promptly informed the police.
During the trial though, the friend told the court that he was detained by the police for six days before they made him sign a statement which read that Ramakant had confessed to him.
The police also recovered CCTV footage from the shop where Ramakant had purchased the knife.
The court dismissed the footage as the police failed to produce a certificate that declared it authentic.
“The entire case was built upon circumstantial evidence, but the police failed to establish the chain of events. The police had recorded an extra-judicial confession and also had CCTV footage of Ramakant buying the murder weapon, but we proved that it was not authentic,” said advocate Amrish Salunke, who represented Ramakant.