Indrajit Das vs The State of Tripura
Date of Order:
28th February, 2023
Justice B.R. Gavai and Vikram Nath
Petitioner: Indrajit Das
Defendant: The State of Tripura
- The appellant has questioned the accuracy of the decision and order issued by the High Court of Tripura on October 9, 2013, which dismissed the appellant's appeal while upholding the conviction under Sections 201 of the Indian Penal Code1 and 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code, which resulted in a life sentence and other concurrent sentences.
- The prosecution's case begins when Mantu Das (PW-40) calls the Kailashahar Police Station to report that a large amount of blood has been seen on the Kailashahar-Kumarghat Road close to Shantipur. After receiving the aforementioned telephone communication, Bindhu Bhushan Das (PW-1) and Sub-Inspector Kajal Rudrapal went to the specified location after making the proper entry in the G.D. Register.
- PW-1 visited the scene and found broken pieces of glass that seemed to be the rear-view mirror of a motorcycle, a blood-stained vojali (large knife), one taga (thread), and some blood on the roadside. All of these items were seized, sealed, and a recovery memo created. Subsequent examination revealed apparent signs of someone pulling a hefty object along the roadside in the bush. These traces persisted all the way to the Manu River before disappearing.
- As the investigation was ongoing, Arjun Das (PW-7) informed the police station that his nephew Kaushik Sarkar had been missing since the previous evening, on June 19, 2007, according to the report. According to the aforementioned facts, Kaushik Sarkar left on his bike the previous evening but did not come back.
- The investigating officer visited Kaushik Sarkar's home in the village of Mohanpur, where he took his mother's statement (PW-25). She revealed that Indrajit Das (the appellant) and one "juvenile K" were the two friends Kaushik Sarkar had gone out with. Both of these people were asked to report to the police station, but they opted not to. After that, the investigating officer visited the appellant's home.
- The Investigating Officer claims that both of the accused admitted to him that they had used the dead Kaushik Sarkar's bike to travel to the Fatikroy and Kanchanbari areas. They had bought a bottle of vodka on the way, which they shared with Babul Das. They then began to go in the direction of Kailashahar.
- They descended to Shantipur to attend to their natural needs. Sitting on the motorcycle was Kaushik. At that point, Kaushik Sarkar was attacked by both defendants using vojalis. They pulled the deceased body and the motorbike to the neighbouring river and threw them in. They then threw the helmet, purse, and two vojalis into the nearby jungle. After swimming across the river, they went to the appellant's home and set their blood-stained garments on fire.
- Under the guidelines of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, the accused "juvenile K" was tried. The ordinary Sessions Court heard the case of the current appellant. He pled not guilty and said he would be tried after the charge was read aloud.
- The prosecution cross-examined up to 40 witnesses and presented documentation that was properly proved and displayed. The Trial Court found in its decision dated April 19, 2011, that the prosecution had shown the appellant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, it found the appellant guilty of the charges and punished him as previously noted.
- The High Court dismissed the appellant's appeal after the appellant filed it because it agreed with the impugned decision that the prosecution had successfully proven the accusations beyond a reasonable doubt.
- We have listened to the parties' knowledgeable counsel and looked over the pertinent material of record.
In light of the aforementioned established legal doctrines, the petition was filed to examine the facts, circumstances, and available evidence in the current case to determine whether or not the prosecution has sufficiently proven each link in the chain of events.
- In this instance, the body has not been located. Only one leg was found, but no Genetic testing was done to confirm that it belonged to Kaushik Sarkar, who died. As a result, the prosecution's whole case is based on the assumption that Kaushik Sarkar has passed away. There are decisions on both sides of the corpus delicti principle, with one position holding that no conviction could be recorded without the recovery of the corpus and the other holding that a conviction might be recorded without the recovery of the corpus.
- The later viewpoint is justified by the possibility that someone could have been found guilty, condemned to prison, and endured captivity for no crime of his own, should the corpus afterwards appear to be alive.
- The last seen theory is what we will discuss next. There is no reference that Kaushik left his house with the appellant and "juvenile K" when Arjun Das (PW-7) first provided information to the police station in the morning. The only thing Arjun Das (PW-7) has said is that his nephew Kaushik departed on the motorcycle in the evening and hasn't come back. Although he claimed in his testimony before the Trial Court that Kaushik had travelled with the appellant and juvenile "K," he was unable to explain this when asked about his statement under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the entry in the police records.
- The primary witness of the last seen is PW-25. She is Kaushik's mother. She claims that on June 19, 2007, about 5 PM, she left the office and returned to see Kaushik leaving on his father's motorcycle. He informed her that he was travelling to Fatikroy with the appellant and the young "K" when she asked him about it. She added that she had followed her son to the gate where she had seen the appellant and "juvenile K" waiting. When asked about her statement according to Section 161 CrPC during cross-examination, this witness said that there is no such statement, despite the fact that she claimed to have told the investigating officer that she had seen the appellant and "juvenile K" at her gate.
- Regarding the recoveries, which are once again a crucial link in the sequence of events, they have come from an open area. It is entirely typical and anticipated to drag a heavy object from the spot where blood stains were discovered and the "vojali" was found up to the brink of the river before reclaiming the motorbike from the spot on the riverbed immediately below where the dragging marks had ended. It was not a location that could only have been known to the appellant.
- Extrajudicial confessions are suspect evidence, especially if they were renounced during the course of the trial. It must be supported by substantial evidence and be proven to have been entirely voluntarily and truthful. After considering the points raised above, we do not find any supporting evidence for the extrajudicial confession; rather, the prosecution's evidence is incongruent with it.
In light of the arguments raised above, we conclude that the prosecution's evidence failed to establish the key links in the chain of circumstances, and as a result, it would be unfair to affirm the appellant's conviction. One would have to give the appellant the benefit of the doubt. In light of this, the appeal is granted and the appellant is cleared of all charges. Appellant is being held by authorities. He did, however, receive parole from the State. He will be immediately released. If there are any pending applications, they are rejected.
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