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In a case of circumstantial evidence a completed chain of events must be such as to rule out a reasonable likelihood of the innocence of the accused : Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Sabir Khan vs State Of M.P. (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.788 OF 2011) upheld that In a case of circumstantial evidence a completed chain of events must be such as to rule out a reasonable likelihood of the innocence of the accused.

Facts of the case: In this case a gum insaan report was lodged. During enquiry, the statements of complainant Neelu Bano, Salma Bano, and the Appellant were recorded. It was found that Appellant was seen for the last time with the deceased. Thereafter, the Appellant made a confessional statement that on the dispute of non- payment of loan amount, he had given sleeping pills to the deceased Naushad and thereafter, strangulated him, and his dead body has been buried in his own room. Chappal, Belt and Pant of the deceased have been thrown. Accordingly, FIR for offense under Section 302, 201 of IPC was registered against the Appellant. 

The dead body of the deceased Naushad was dug out from the room of the Appellant. Articles belonging to the deceased were recovered at the instance of the Appellant. The Articles were identified. Appellant was arrested. The Trial Court by order dated 30-12-2010, framed charges under Sections 302, 201 of IPC. The Appellant abjured his guilt and pleaded not guilty.

The present case was based on circumstantial evidence which can be summarized as under : 

(a) Last Seen Together 

(b) Recovery of Dead Body from the room of the Appellant 

(c) Recovery of articles belonging to the Deceased and their identification. 

(d) One strip of Sleeping pills (Trika 0.5 mg) was seized from the possession of Appellant and in Viscera Report, Lorazepam (Tranquilizer) was found. 

(e) Death was homicidal and cause of death was Strangulation.

Challenging the judgment and sentence passed by the Court below, it was submitted by the Counsel for the Appellant that the case was based on circumstantial evidence, and the prosecution had failed to prove the chain of circumstances. The prosecution has failed to prove that the dead body of the deceased was recovered from the room of the house. 

Judgment: The court held that in a case of circumstantial evidence the court must satisfy itself that various circumstances in the chain of events have been established clearly and such a completed chain of events must be such as to rule out a reasonable likelihood of the innocence of the accused. 

Where a case rests squarely on circumstantial evidence, the inference of guilt can be justified only when all the incriminating facts and circumstances are found to be incompatible with the innocence of the accused or the guilt of any other person. The circumstances from which an inference as to the guilt of the accused is drawn have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt and have to be shown to be closely connected with the principal fact sought to be inferred from those circumstances.

Considering the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court was of the considered opinion, that the prosecution had proved all circumstances against the Appellant and the chain of circumstances was complete which lead to only one conclusion that it was the Appellant alone, who had killed the deceased Naushad. Accordingly, his conviction under Sections 302, 201 of IPC recorded by the Trial Court was upheld.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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