The acquittal of gangster Sharad Mohol and his aide Alok Bhalerao, in the murder case of alleged Indian Mujahideen terror operative Mohammad Qateel Mohammad Jafir Siddiqui in a high-security cell of Yerawada Central Prison, is a setback for the investigators.
The court raised doubts about the “story of the prosecution” that the accused made an extrajudicial confession to jail officer Chandrakiran Tayade.
The court observed that the extrajudicial confession was considered an important piece of evidence by the prosecution. The prosecution lawyer had submitted before the court that “law does not require that evidence of extrajudicial confession should in all cases be corroborated and where such confession has been proved by an independent witness who was a responsible officer and who bore no animus against the accused, there is hardly any justification to disbelieve the same”.
Defence lawyer Prakash Suryavanshi had argued that Tayade was a stranger to the accused, so “there is no possibility that accused will confess guilt in front of him”.
Suryavanshi also pointed out that Tayade’s testimony stated there were senior officers present when the extrajudicial confession was allegedly made. “However, said officers have not been examined by the prosecution. And no explanation is given as to why these senior officers are not examined,” said the defence lawyer.
He also argued that extrajudicial confession was weak evidence. “Conviction cannot be based on extrajudicial confession. The prosecution has failed to establish the motive to commit the crime,” he argued.
The court observed that the “entire case of the prosecution is based on circumstantial evidence and there is no direct evidence to demonstrate that it was accused Sharad Mohol who strangled Qateel by means of a string of bermuda shorts and accused Alok Bhalerao caught hold legs of the deceased”.