After 11 years behind bars, HC sets free Ghatkopar man convicted for killing mom, brother

Published on Oct 01, 2022 06:08 PM IST

When the police reached the spot, they found the elderly woman was strangulated by a cloth piece and her younger son was lying in the bathroom with a severe head injury. Based on a complaint lodged by Krishnan, the police registered a murder case

When the police reached the spot, they found the elderly woman was strangulated by a cloth piece and her younger son was lying in the bathroom with a severe head injury. Based on a complaint lodged by Krishnan, the police registered a murder case (StockPic)
When the police reached the spot, they found the elderly woman was strangulated by a cloth piece and her younger son was lying in the bathroom with a severe head injury. Based on a complaint lodged by Krishnan, the police registered a murder case (StockPic)

Mumbai: ‘Suspicion, however strong, cannot take place of proof’, said the Bombay high court (HC), while acquitting a 60-year-old Ghatkopar resident convicted for killing his bed-ridden mother and unemployed younger brother, after he spent around eleven years behind bars.

“Considering the overall evidence, the prosecution has not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt i.e. it is the appellant and the appellant alone who murdered his mother and brother,” said the division bench of justice Revati Mohite-Dere and justice Sharmila Deshmukh and set free Gopal Shivram Krishnan.

According to the prosecution, the incident took place on April 19, 2011. After Krishnan, a Mumbai University (MU) employee, returned home in the evening at around 8.15 pm, he found both his mother and brother lying dead in their house in Ghatkopar West.

When the police reached the spot, they found the elderly woman was strangulated by a cloth piece and her younger son was lying in the bathroom with a severe head injury. Based on a complaint lodged by Krishnan, the police registered a murder case.

A few days later, police arrested the MU employee, claiming he had a love affair and had committed the murders because of some issues associated with it. Police also claimed that he had committed the murders in the morning and thereafter gone to work and

The prosecution examined 10 witnesses, including a cousin of the accused, to prove his guilt. The sessions court accepted their evidence and on July 18, 2012, convicted Krishnan and sentenced him to life imprisonment for killing his bed-ridden mother and younger, unemployed brother.

He had filed an appeal before the high court, contending that there was no evidence to connect him with the crime and the trial court had convicted him merely based on the probable time of the death of the deceased, as given by the doctor who conducted the post-mortem. He further contended that there was no evidence to support the motive put forth by the prosecution and the conviction was primarily based on conjectures and surmises.

The high court accepted his contentions after finding that none of the witnesses examined by the prosecution had thrown any light on the possible motive behind the murders. “Not a single witness has deposed about the said motive as alleged by the prosecution,” said the bench in this regard.

Though the prosecution claimed that the doctor who conducted the autopsy had opined that the murders were committed 12 to 18 hours before the post-mortem – early in the morning on the date of the incident, the high court noticed that in his testimony before the trial court that doctor had not given any probable time of the death of the deceased.

The high court also rejected the prosecution’s claim of recovery of an iron rod from the bathroom of the house – allegedly used to kill the brother of the accused, as the recovery was made three days after the incident, but no mention of the rod was made in the spot panchnama of the bathroom (where the body of the brother was found) on the date of the incident.

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