The Bombay High Court recently upheld the judgment of a sessions court in Pune acquitting nine persons accused of killing a couple in 1997 allegedly because they did not approve of their relationship. The state had filed an appeal before the High Court against the acquittal of nine persons by a session judge in Pune in June 1997.
According to police, Gangubai Gore and Balu Thopate, alias Shivaji, both residents of Pune were in a relationship as a result of which Gangubai got pregnant. Shivaji allegedly got the pregnancy terminated. Gore’s family was allegedly against the relationship and after they learnt that she had an abortion, they were enraged. But the couple continued to meet.
The prosecutor told the court that on the night of October 6, 1995, Gore and Shivaji went missing. After a week, Gore’s father filed a missing complaint with the nearest police station. On October 17, 1995, their bodies were found in a well at Dhangar Vasti, Rahatwade, Pune.
The police arrested nine relatives of Gore and charged them for murder of Gore and Shivaji. All the accused were acquitted by the Pune sessions court in 1997.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice A S Gadkari said: “The present case is based on circumstantial evidence…evidence available on record would indicate that the chain of circumstances propounded by the prosecution is not complete and there are several lacune in it…the bodies of the deceased persons when took out from the well were noticed as extensively decomposed and therefore, the medical officer could not give exact and definite cause of death of the said two victims and therefore it is difficult to hold that the respondents committed murder of the said two persons.”
The bench upheld the order of the session court by observing: “We are of the considered opinion that the view adopted by the trial Court is a reasonable and probable view, in view of the facts and circumstances of the present case.”