Holding that a conviction cannot be based merely on an extra judicial confession or a theory hinting towards an accused's possible motive for a murder, the Supreme Court has acquitted a man convicted for killing his brother-in-law over a financial dispute.
Pooh-poohing the prosecution's theory, a bench of Justices S B Sinha and H S Bedi wondered how a dead body could turn into a skeleton within four days of the alleged murder, where as the deceased's dress remained intact and was recovered from a separate place.
In this case the accused Keshav, was convicted by a sessions court in Maharashtra for the murder of his brother-in-law Uttam Sonwale on December 19, 1995 at Deulgaon in Nanded district, over a financial row.
The Bombay High Court upheld the conviction on varying factors like motive, accused and deceased last seen together by a witness, confession allegedly made by Keshav to the deceased's wife, discovery of blood stained clothes from Keshav's house and discovery of a knife from the bushes at the "behest" of the accused.
However, the apex court found that there were several infirmities in the claims of the prosecution which had been ignored by the courts while convicting the accused.
Rejecting the prosecution's claim that the skeletal remains of the deceased were found in the agricultural fields four days after the alleged murder, the apex court said there was no evidence on record to show that the body was eaten away by vultures or animals.