Five months after he was sentenced to death for killing his two minor daughters, by throwing them into a well, the Bombay high court last week acquitted 36-year-old Buldhana resident Mahendra Parve.
The division bench of Justice BP Dharmadhkari and Justice AS Chandurkar gave benefit of doubt to Parve, primarily owing to a botched investigation and failure of the prosecution in presenting essential evidentiary material before the trial court.
According to the prosecution, the incident happened on January 24, 2014, when his father-in-law visited his home in Buldhana’s Jaulka village. Parve came home in the evening in an inebriated state and quarrelled with his wife and thrashed her upon seeing his father-in-law in his house. He also threatened to kill their daughters. Next morning, Parve allegedly woke up his daughters – Kalyani , 5, and Shital, 2 — and left the house with them.
At about 7.30 am, Parve told one of the villagers, Bhimrao, that he just threw both his daughters into a well. Stunned, Bhimrao alerted Parve’s family, who then field a complaint against him. Police recovered the bodies and arrested Parve.
Taking a plea of denial, before the trial court, Parve took a stand that after leaving his house, his uncle, Sahebrao Parve, came to him and took custody of the girls and later he came to know that the uncle had killed both his daughters. The trial court, however, refused to believe his stand and relying on circumstantial evidence, convicted Parve for killing the minor girls and sentenced him to death.
The high court, however, found that the alleged chain of events was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. The bench noticed that prosecution did not bring on record the facts of Parve’s quarrel with his wife and his threat to kill their daughters. Besides, the prosecution also failed to bring on record the fact of Parve making the extra-judicial confession to Bhimrao and that Bhimrao alerted the family.
“Merely because daughters were last seen with their father and their dead bodies are found in well, an inference of guilt of father cannot be reached especially when there is no eyewitness who had seen him throw the girls in the well or even seen him in the vicinity of the well,” said the high court. The bench also observed that in absence of motive, failure to explain or substantiate his defence cannot be viewed as an adverse circumstance against the 36-year-old.