KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has observed that when public opinion influences an investigation, its very course is hijacked with “exasperating” results. A division bench comprising Judge K Vinod Chandran and Judge Ziyad Rahman AA made this observation during the acquittal of Mani and Rajan of Agali in Palakkad, serving life sentences for the rape and murder of a tribal woman on May 30, 2005.
The judiciary observed that a tribal woman had been murdered and that the suspect was her confidant who belonged to the same community. “The community took up arms against theirs involvement and the police removed him from the suspect list and pursued two other suspects from a different community with higher caste status, thus alleging non-offenses. only under the Indian Penal Code but also under the Indian Penal Code. the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Atrocity Prevention) Act 1989, “the court observed. The protest was led by the panchayat member of the era against the constitution of a tribe among the accused.
The prosecutor argued that the entire prosecution case was based on the testimony of Jungan, who “went” to a police station claiming that he had murdered her. Initially, he was one of the suspects, but nothing emerged from the investigation to present him as an accused. The last person seen with the deceased was Jungan and he said he left the deceased alone for 20 minutes when she was raped and murdered by the accused.
The court noted that all of Jungan’s narration and conduct was highly suspect, especially given the contradictions he was specifically faced with during cross-examination. His version of the actual incident is very fragile and full of inconsistencies. He had stated that while he and the deceased were sitting by the path, they both drank the arack they had with them.
Scientific analysis of the contents of the stomach and internal organs of the deceased does not reveal the presence of ethyl alcohol. The court also said that having raped the deceased is a reasonable inference that there were other people, one or more people, involved.
The court said: âWe find nothing to link the accused to the crime other than the testimony of Jungan, who we suspect, as being interested in saving himself or covering up the real facts. ‘a decade and a half and that alone prevents us from ordering a further investigation, which would be futile especially in the absence of any scientific evidence. Again, a woman is molested and murdered and the perpetrators are at large; poor soul is not avenged.We see absolutely no other than acquitting the accused.