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Shimla man convicted in heroin overdose death case: Witness testimonies, recovery of foils from his room established accused’s culpability

The victim, a resident of Bhonda village in Chirgaon, went missing from her home on the night of March 30, 2018. A few days later, Raj was arrested in the case and accused of abducting her.

By: Express News Service | Shimla | July 26, 2020 2:25:44 pm
Shimla man convicted in heroin overdose death case: Witness testimonies, recovery of foils from his room established accused’s culpabilityShimla man convicted in heroin overdose death case: Witness testimonies, recovery of foils from his room established accused’s culpability In Shimla, Raj and the minor left the victim at Lakkar Bazar for sometime but when they returned, she was unconscious. (Representational)

RECOVERY OF silver foils from his room along with testimonies of some key witnesses helped establish that a 42-year-old man gave heroin to a 19-year-old woman, leading to her death due to overdose in Shimla in 2018, according to the judgment in the case announced by a sessions court this week.

Prithvi Raj, resident of a village in Chirgaon, has been held guilty of causing the woman’s death and dumping her body in a gorge near Bekhalti, more than two years after the victim went missing from her home and was later found dead.

The victim, a resident of Bhonda village in Chirgaon, went missing from her home on the night of March 30, 2018. A few days later, Raj was arrested in the case and accused of abducting her. Police then recovered the victim’s body from a forest area in Chaura village and also charged him with murder and causing disappearance of evidence.

According to the police and other prosecution witnesses, the victim travelled with Raj and a minor from Chirgaon to Kharapathar in Raj’s Maruti Alto on the night of March 30 and consumed chitta (heroin). They returned to a place between Kharapathar and Rohru, and started towards Shimla the next day, consuming more chitta on the way. Another woman, Himani, joined them from Sawara till Dhalli.

In Shimla, Raj and the minor left the victim at Lakkar Bazar for sometime but when they returned, she was unconscious.

Presuming her to be dead, Raj drove out of the city and threw her body in a gorge in Chaura forest, the prosecution said. He also dumped her bags, mobile phone and other articles in Theog.

The police recovered the body and the items following his arrest, and the forensic examination of the victim’s visceral samples confirmed that she had died due to the toxic effects of diacetyl morphine (heroin) and its metabolite 6-monoacetylmorphine. “Now, the vital question is – who is responsible for the consumption of heroin, the victim herself or the accused Prithvi Raj?” remarked sessions judge (forests) Arvind Malhotra in his judgment.

The judgment stated that Himani, the woman who had joined them to come to Shimla from Sawara on March 31, had testified that “Raj was giving her (the victim) the chitta”. Another witness, Sheetal Tanta, who runs a cafe at Sawara, testified that Raj had told him about the drug overdose death and the throwing away of the body. Tanta also admitted during his cross-examination that Raj used to supply heroin to him. Moreover, the police recovered some burnt and unburnt foils from Raj’s rented room in Bhonda and a forensic report confirmed the presence of heroin on the foil.

“Raj is found to be dealing in heroin from the evidence…he had been giving heroin to the victim for consumption on the two nights before her death…This morphine is a toxic substance, in simple words it is a sort of poison. Giving poison i.e. heroin to the victim by Raj incurs the criminal liability of causing her death, which in legal terms is culpable homicide,” said the judgment.

Raj has been sentenced to an imprisonment of ten years under section 304II and 201 of the IPC. He was acquitted of the charge of abduction because there was no evidence that he forcibly took the deceased with him.

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