Maharashtra: HC lets Jalgaon man on death row walk free

  • Kanchan Chaudhari, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2014 21:21 IST

The Bombay high court on Thursday acquitted a 31-year-old Jalgaon resident who had earlier been sentenced to death for allegedly killing a senior medical officer in the post-mortem room of a civil hospital in March 2012.

Yuvraj Sable, who used to transport unidentified bodies to crematoriums for a living, took the woman’s body to the local crematorium and conducted her last rites, passing her off as his grandmother.

The high court, however, found the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the chain of circumstances on which Sable’s conviction was based, and let him walk free.

The incident took place on March 12, 2012. The victim, Dr Vijaya Chaudhari, went missing after conducting a post mortem at 3pm, after which her husband lodged a missing person report.

The police got their first lead in the case when the clerk of the local crematorium submitted an application to the civil hospital, asking for details of a woman cremated by Sable on March 12. Sable would routinely bring unidentified dead bodies to the civil hospital, and then transport them to the crematorium.

After the police apprehended him, Sable admitted he had killed the woman in the post-mortem room, removed the 32.2 grams of gold she was wearing and disposed of her body.

The police also arrested two others, who had purchased the stolen ornaments. The trial court convicted all the three on the basis of circumstantial evidence and sentenced Sable to death. They approached high court in appeal, challenging their respective convictions and sentences.

The high court, held the prosecution had failed to prove the case against Sable beyond reasonable doubt. “The circumstances taken together cumulatively do not form a chain so complete that there is no escape from the conclusion that within all human probabilities, the crime was committed by the accused and none else,” said the bench of justice SS Shinde and justice VL Achliya.

The bench further observed the evidence did not establish that it was Sable who murdered the doctor, saying, “In the absence of trustworthy, reliable and sufficient evidence, we are unable to subscribe to the view taken by the trial court.”

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