Extra judicial confession of an accused in inebriated condition cannot be considered as cogent evidence, held the Bombay high court while acquitting a 33-year-old Chinchwad resident of murder allegedly committed by him 22 years ago.
“The alleged extra judicial confession is shrouded in mystery and therefore cannot be considered,” the division bench of justice Abhay Oak and justice SS Jadhav said, referring to the fact that the accused was under the influence of liquor when he allegedly confessed to a prosecution witness.
The court also took into consideration that the accused, Chandrakant Salunke, had accompanied the deceased — Akurdi resident Pandhari Pandharkar — to hospital when he was injured and did not flee from the spot.
“It is sufficient to infer that the accused was not nurturing a sense of guilt at that time,” the court said.
The incident had taken place on October 16, 1990. According to the prosecution, witness Subhash Bhoir was around the crime scene when he was told of an ongoing quarrel that was taking place opposite Vishwakarma Furniture Mart in Akurdi. Bhoir immediately rushed to the spot to find a man — Pandharkar — lying unconscious in blood-stained clothes, and Salunke washing a swordstick at a tap nearby. According to Bhoir, Salunke told him later that Pandharkar had assaulted him earlier and he had attacked him to seek revenge.
Relying primarily on Bhoir’s testimony given on September 10, 1991, a trial court in Pune convicted Salunke for murdering Pandharkar and sentenced him to life imprisonment.