PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT (D.B.)
Before :- Harphul Singh Brar and B. Rai, JJ.
Criminal Appeal No. 130-DB of 1994. D/d. 7.8.1996
For the Appellant :- Mr. R.S. Ghai, Sr. Advocate with Mr. Bipan Ghai, Advocate.
Malkiat Singh - Appellant
State of Punjab - Respondent
For the Respondent :- Mr. M.S. Gill, DAG, Punjab.
2. The prosecution story as disclosed by Hakam Singh is that he was a resident of village Sheron and did cultivation. They were three brothers. Nachhatar Singh aged 35 years was the eldest, he was younger to him and Sadhu Singh aged 30 years was younger to him. They, all the three brothers had a partnership with Piara Singh son of Atma Singh, Jat resident of the village in Swaraj Combine bearing No. PB-13/B-2571. They had employed Malkiat Singh resident of Chanarthal, Police Station Mullepur District Fatehgarh Sahib as driver of this combine. Yesterday, i.e. on 28.9.92, Malkiat Singh aforesaid driver was harvesting the paddy crop in the field known as Harigarhia of their co-sharer Piara Singh aforesaid with their combine. His brother Nachhatar Singh, Piara Singh aforesaid and he were present there. They stopped the work at night. Thereafter, both Piara Singh and he went to their houses in village Sheron. His brother Nachhatar Singh and driver Malkiat Singh remained near the combine. When Piara Singh aforesaid and he returned to the field of Piara Singh after taking meals from their respective houses, it was about 9.00 p.m. and an electric bulb was on at the motor of Piara Singh. At that time, Malkiat Singh resident of Chanarthal aforesaid was inflicting blows with an iron-rod on the head of his brother Nachhatar Singh and was saying that he was teaching him a lesson for hurling abuses in the names of mother and sister on the previous day. Within their sight, Malkiat Singh gave many iron rod blows on the face and head of Nachhatar Singh. They raised an alarm of "Marta Marta" (killed, killed). At this, Malkiat Singh aforesaid ran away towards Village Cheema through the fields, together with an iron rod. When Piara Singh aforesaid and he came near his brother Nachhatar Singh, they found him dead. His mouth and head were smeared with blood. The cause of grudge was that on 27.9.92, his brother had hurled abuses on Malkiat Singh and due to this grudge Malkiat Singh has committed the murder of his brother Nachhatar Singh. They did not go to the police-station to lodge a report during night, keeping in view the prevailing situation and out of fear they had been guarding the dead body of his brother. Today i.e. 29.9.1992, after leaving Piara Singh near the dead body of his brother, he along with Jagdev Singh Sarpanch, resident of Sheron was going to the Police-Station to lodge a report when ASI Kashmir Singh had met him. ASI Kashmir Singh (PW-10) recorded statement Ex.PD of Hakam Singh (PW-2) about this occurrence and after making endorsement Ex.PD/1 on it, he sent this statement through constable Amrit Singh to Police Station, Longowal where formal FIR Ex. PD/2 was recorded and a case was registered against the accused. ASI Kashmir Singh then along with Hakam Singh PW-2, Jagdev Singh Sarpanch and other members of the police party reached the place of occurrence situated near the tubewell of Piara Singh PW. The dead body of Nachhatar Singh deceased was found lying in a pool of blood at that place. The ASI prepared the inquest report Ex. PC which was thumb marked by Hakam Singh PW 2 and his brother Sadhu Singh PW 7. He also collected blood stained earth from the spot and after making it into a sealed parcel, he took it into possession vide memo Ex. PJ attested by Head Constable Pritam Singh and Sadhu Singh PW. He then despatched the dead body through H.C. Pritam Singh to Civil Hospital, Sangrur. Both the brothers of the deceased, namely Hakam Singh and Sadhu Singh PWs, also accompanied the dead body. The ASI then searched for the accused but he was not available in the village.
3. Dr. Baljit Singh Natt conducted the autopsy on the dead body of Nachhatar Singh deceased at 2.00 p.m. on the same day i.e. 29.9.92. The following injuries were observed by the doctor on the dead body :-
- 1. A lacerated wound 3 cm x 2 cm on the right side of forehead just above the middle of the eye brow. Clotted blood was present in the wound.
- 2. A lacerated wound 5 cm x 2 cm on the right side of forehead, just above and lateral to the injury No. 1. Clotted blood was present in the wound.
- 3. A lacerated wound 4 cm x 2 cm just above and parallel and two cm away from injury No. 2. Clotted blood was present around the wound.
- 4. A lacerated wound 3 cm x 2 cm on the right cheek about 3 cm in front of right ear. Clotted blood was present.
- 5. A lacerated wound 2 cm x 2 cm on the right side of upper lip. Clotted blood was present.
5. Stomach was found to contain small quantity of semi-digested food. Small intestine contained digested food. Large intestine contained faecal matter. All other organs were healthy.
6. In the opinion of the doctor, the cause of death was due to shock and haemorrhage and the injuries found on the dead body were sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. All the injuries were ante mortem in nature. He also opined, vide post-mortem examination report Ex. PA that the time that elapsed between the injuries and the death was immediate. The doctor handed over the belongings of the deceased in a sealed parcel, along with sample seal and other papers to H.C. Pritam Singh. The doctor examined the iron rod Ex. P.1 allegedly got recovered from the accused and stated in Court that the aforesaid injuries on the dead body could have been caused with the said rod.
7. H.C. Pritam Singh met the police party at Bus Stand, Longowal and handed over the sealed parcel of the clothes of the deceased to ASI Kashmir Singh PW 10 who took it into possession vide recovery memo Ex. PR.
8. ASI Kashmir Singh had been searching for the accused from 29.9.92 to 19.10.1992 but the accused could not be traced at his house or at the house of his relatives. However, on 19.10.1992, Gurdial Singh Ex-Sarpanch of Sheron (PW 6) had gone to Sunam in connection with his household job and he was standing at the bus stand, Sunam, when Malkiat Singh accused saw him and came to him. Malkiat Singh told the Ex-Sarpanch that the police was looking for him because he had committed the murder of Nachhatar Singh and the accused requested this witness (Ex-Sarpanch Gurdial Singh) to produce him at the police post, Cheema so that he may be saved from police torture. Gurdial Singh agreed to do so and both of them took a bus for Cheema. When they got down from the bus at the bus stop, Cheema, a police party headed by ASI Kashmir Singh PW 10 met them there. Gurdial Singh PW 7 then produced accused Malkiat Singh before the ASI who arrested him.
9. On interrogation by ASI Kashmir Singh, the accused disclosed in the presence of HC Kirpal Singh and Gurdial Singh, Ex-Sarpanch, that he had kept concealed a piece of iron rod near the electric pole which is situated near the canal minor bridge in the area of village Sheron under the heap of Parali and he could get the same recovered. His statement Ex. PG was reduced into writing, which was signed by him and attested by aforesaid witnesses. Thereafter, in pursuance of the disclosure statement, the accused led the police party to the disclosed place and got recovered iron rod Ex. P1 and the iron rod was taken into possession after preparing a sealed parcel. The iron rod was blood-stained. It was taken into possession vide recovery memo Ex. PH, attested by Kirpal Singh, Head Constable and Gurdial Singh, Ex-Sarpanch. The ASI also prepared site plan Ex. PS of the place of recovery and after completion of the investigation the accused was challaned.
10. The motive behind this occurrence, as uttered by Malkiat Singh accused while he was causing injuries to the deceased, was the scolding suffered by him from Nachhatar Singh deceased on the day previous to the occurrence. Sukhjinder Singh PW 5 was present on the said occasion when he had heard Nachhatar Singh deceased scolding Malkiat Singh accused. On his asking, Nachhatar Singh deceased had told Sukhjinder Singh PW 5, that Malkiat Singh accused was not working properly and was splashing grains some time on one side and some time on the other side. The altercation between the deceased and the accused was heated one.
11. Charge was framed against the accused under Section 302 IPC to which accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
12. Dr. Baljit Singh Natt (PW-1) conducted the post-mortem examination on the dead body of the deceased. Hakam Singh PW-2 and Piara Singh PW-3 were examined as eye witnesses to the occurrence. Thereafter, Parvinder Pal Singh PW-4, functionary from the office of District Transport Officer, Sangrur, was examined by the prosecution to prove that the harvester combine was registered in the names of Piara Singh (PW-3) and Nachhatar Singh deceased, his brothers Hakam Singh (PW-2) and Sadhu Singh (PW-7). Sukhjinder Singh was examined as PW-5 to prove the motive and Gurdial Singh Ex-Sarpanch was examined as PW-6 regarding extra judicial confession made by the accused. Sadhu Singh was examined as PW 7 regarding investigation of the case at the spot and Darshan Singh PW-8 was examined to prove the site plan prepared by him. Constable Ajit Singh proved his formal affidavit Ex. PL and ASI Kashmir Singh PW 10 is the Investigating Officer in this case.
13. The prosecution tendered into evidence affidavits Exs. PM, PN, PO, and PP of constable Karam Singh, MHC Baljinder Singh, constable Darshan Singh and HC Pritam Singh respectively. Reports of the Chemical Examiner Ex.PT and Ex. PU, those of the Serologist Ex. PV and Ex. PY as also copy of Jamabandi Ex. PX, were also tendered into evidence by the prosecution.
14. In his statement under section 313 Cr.P.C., the accused denied the truth of the prosecution evidence, and stated as under :-
- "This was a blind murder. Some unknown assailants had committed the murder of Nachhatar Singh during night time. I had already left the job six months prior to the incident. In order to work out the blind murder the police had in connivance with the complainant party, concocted a story and foisted the case upon me. I was taken away from my house and was falsely implicated in this case after illegal detention by the police. I am innocent."
15. The learned counsel for the appellant contends that it is a case of blind murder; alleged eye witnesses are only made up witnesses and even their testimony is discrepant nad contradictory in itself and against the testimony of the PWs. The learned counsel further submits that the medical evidence also belies the oral testimony of the alleged eye witnesses. It has also been contended by the learned counsel for the appellant that there is great un- explained delay in lodging the First Information Report. According to the learned counsel, in fact, the First Information Report was recorded after visiting the place of occurrence and examining the site of occurrence. He, thus, submits that the judgment/order of the learned Additional Sessions Judge be set aside. The learned counsel further submits that the alleged eye witnesses are also interested and partisan. Hakam Singh (PW-2) according to the learned counsel, is real brother of the deceased and Piara Singh (PW-3) is his shareholder in the harvester combine and belongs to the same village.
16. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the State submits that the presence of the eye witnesses is natural at the time of occurrence; the delay in lodging the First Information Report has been properly explained and the oral testimony of the eye witnesses and the medical evidence prove the prosecution story to the hilt. He, thus submits that the judgment/order of the learned Additional Sessions Judge is not liable to be set aside.
17. Let us first take up as to whether the alleged eye witnesses PW-2 Hakam Singh, PW-3 Piara Singh, were present at the time of occurrence or not ?
18. Hakam Singh (PW-2) has deposed at the trial that Malkiat Singh deceased was harvesting paddy crop in the field of Piara Singh. He himself and Piara Singh were present there when paddy was being harvested. Combine harvester was stopped by the accused at about 7.30 p.m. He and Piara Singh had gone back to the village while his brother Nachhatar Singh, since deceased, remained there with Malkiat Singh accused in the aforesaid field. Piara Singh brought meals for Malkiat Singh and he brought meals for Nachhatar Singh in the field aforesaid at about 9 p.m. Electric bulb was on at the time at the motor of Piara Singh. He has further deposed that at that time Malkiat Singh accused was inflicting injuries on the head and face of Nachhatar Singh with iron rod and was shouting that he was teaching a lesson to him for scolding him previous day. He and Piara Singh PW were at a distance of 15 karams at that the time and they shouted mar ditta, mar ditta (killed, killed). Within their sight accused inflicted one or two rod injuries on the face and side of head of Nachhatar Singh. The accused, according to him, ran away with his rod and Nachhatar Singh died of the injuries within their sight. He has further stated that he and Piara Singh sat as guard near the dead body of Nachhatar Singh during the night. Piara Singh PW continued sitting there while he started for the police station on the next day at about 9.00 a.m. but he first went to Sarpanch Jagdev Singh and narrated the occurrence to him and then with him he had gone to the police and the police met him at the bus adda of village Sheron where he got recorded his statement Ex.PD to the Thanedar, ASI Kashmir Singh (PW-10) at 9.15 a.m. Due to prevailing dis-order in this area, he had not gone to the police after the occurrence during the night.
19. The statement of PW-3 Piara Singh is somewhat similar to the statement of PW-2 Hakam Singh, in examination-in-chief. PW-3 Piara Singh has deposed in his examination-in-chief that Hakam Singh started for the Police-Station at about 8.00 a.m. and he returned with the police, along with Jagdev Singh Sarpanch and Sadhu Singh at about 9.00 a.m. and he was examined by the police about this occurrence. Registration Certificate Ex.PE of the combine harvester was handed over by him to the Investigating Officer.
20. We have gone through the statements of these two witnesses and find them discrepant and contradictory to each other and which also go to show that their presence at the time of the alleged occurrence, was doubtful.
21. PW-2 Hakam Singh has admitted in the cross-examination that their harvester combine was previously working in the Ferozepur District but had come to their village on the same day when occurrence took place and it was only in the field of Piara Singh that harvester had started working, whereas, PW-3 has contradicted this statement of PW-2 Hakam Singh, by admitting in his cross-examination that combine harvester had returned from Ferozepur District on 27.9.92 and after bringing combine-harvester back from Ferozepur District, it was used in his field on the evening of 27.9.92, but after working for four hours on that day the combine-harvester was used in his field from the morning of 28.9.92. PW-2 Hakam Singh then said that harvesting was completed in the field of Piara Singh but PW-3 Piara Singh states that about 8 killas of paddy crop of land still remained to be harvested in his field. We could ignore this discrepancy between the statements of these alleged eye witnesses it they had not made the material contradictions in their statements.
22. PW-2 Hakam Singh has admitted in his cross-examination that Piara Singh PW had met him by chance in the street when he came to his house with meals for Malkiat Singh and they went on a scooter from village to the field. He further admitted that Piara Singh was driving the scooter. The meals which were brought by Piara Singh were in the basket of the scooter, whereas, Piara Singh has stated in his examination-in-chief itself that they had returned to the fields with meals for the aforesaid persons at about 9.00 p.m. on foot. Again Hakam Singh PW-2 has admitted in his cross-examination that he and Piara Singh PW-3 had gone along path way of canal minor on the scooter and not via Pahi while PW-3 Piara Singh has stated in his cross-examination that he and Hakam Singh had come back via Pahi which emerges to the bank of canal minor. It is a material contradiction which goes to the root of the case. Even if the statements are recorded after some time at the trial, such a glaring contradiction is not possible in the statements of the witnesses if they had really brought the meals for Nachhatar Singh and Malkiat Singh where the occurrence had taken place.
23. PW-2 Hakam Singh has stated in his cross-examination at the trial that he himself or Piara Singh PW-3 did not try to chase Malkiat Singh or to intervene when he was assaulting Nachhatar Singh, whereas, PW-3 Piara Singh has admitted in his cross-examination that he and Hakam Singh PW-2 had endeavoured to catch hold of the accused but he had already fled.
24. PW-2, Hakam Singh has stated at the trial that Malkiat Singh's face was towards him and Piara Singh PW-3 when he first saw him assaulting Nachhatar Singh. Malkiat Singh was standing on the head side of Nachhatar Singh and Nachhatar Singh did not make any effort within his sight to grapple with Malkiat Singh, whereas, PW-3 had admitted in his cross-examination that they saw Nachhatar Singh who was in a lying position at that time with the face side way, neither towards the sky nor towards the earth and Malkiat Singh was standing adjacent to the face of Nachhatar Singh on one side.
25. PW-3 Piara Singh has admitted in the cross-examination that Parna of Nachhatar Singh was lying near his head and he was wearing his Jutti at that time. This statement of his is contradicted by the statement of Kashmir Singh ASI (PW-10), the Investigating Officer, who has admitted in his cross- examination that neither any turban nor any Parna nor any shoe or pair of shoes, was there near the dead body.
26. The conduct of both the PWs is also unnatural. If they were present on the spot and when admittedly they had come on the scooter they could have intervened and caught hold of the accused as he was not armed with any deadly weapon but according to PW-2 no effort to that effect was made at all. Both the PWs were not consistent in telling as to what was the position of the deceased vis-a-vis the accused when the injuries were inflicted on the body of the deceased. It again looks strange and unnatural that though according to the alleged eye witnesses, Nachhatar Singh had died at about 9.00 p.m. but still the matter was not reported either to his near relations in the village which is hardly about a kilometer from the place of occurrence or to the police when the police-Station Longowal is only about three miles from the place of occurrence or to any police officer manning the police post which was situated in the village itself. PW-10, ASI Kashmir Singh, has admitted in his cross-examination that there was a permanent police post created for Nakabandi at village Sheron during those days. He has also admitted in his cross-examination that village Sheron is at a distance of about 2 kms from Police Station, Longowal.
27. The presence of the alleged eye witnesses at the time of occurrence is highly doubtful due to the following reasons :-
28. Occurrence is alleged to have taken place at 9.00 p.m. on 28.9.92 but the FIR was lodged on the next day i.e. 29.9.1992 at 9.35 a.m. and this FIR was lodged on the basis of the statement of Hakam Singh which he made before Kashmir Singh ASI at bus stop of village Sheron at 9.15 a.m. on 29.9.92. Special report had reached the Ilaqa Magistrate at 3.00 p.m. on the next day of occurrence. Even in the affidavit of constable Darshan Singh tendered into evidence for proving that the special report was sent to the Ilaqa Magistrate, it is nowhere stated as to when this special report was handed over to him and when he handed over the special report to the Ilaqa Magistrate. It has also come in the evidence of the doctor that dead body and police papers along with it were received by him between 1.30 p.m. to 2.00 p.m. on the next day of occurrence i.e. on 29.9.1992. This long delay in lodging the FIR remains unexplained by the prosecution. Both the alleged eye witnesses Hakam Singh and Piara Singh have stated that they had brought the meals for Nachhatar Singh deceased and Malkiat Singh accused in the fields at about 9.00 p.m. when they are alleged to have seen the accused inflicting injuries on the person of deceased Nachhatar Singh. They have further stated at the trial that immediately after they went near Nachhatar Singh they found him dead. The only explanation given by them for not reporting the matter to the police is that due to prevailing dis-order in the area they had not gone to the police station after the occurrence during night. This explanation seems to be preposterous. When they could bring the meals for the accused and the deceased in the fields at night then they could easily go to their village which, as stated above, was only one kilometer away and inform about the death of Nachhatar Singh to a police officer who manned the police post there. They could even approach the Police Station, Longowal which was hardly about 3 kms away from the place of occurrence. It is again strange to note that it was at 9.00 a.m. in the morning that PW-2 Hakam Singh left Piara Singh at the spot and started for the police-station for lodging the First Information Report. Moreover, another interesting feature of this case is that instead of informing the family members of the Nachhatar Singh at village Sheron and his real brother Sadhu Singh who resides there, he first went to Sarpanch Jagdev Singh and then had gone to the police.
29. The plea of the defence seems to be natural. In fact it was a blind murder and it was some time in the morning when the people came to know about the murder and then the police reached the spot and after seeing the place of occurrence, recorded the statement of Hakam Singh PW and it so looks that the police did not know the names of the real culprits even after they had visited the spot and seen the place of occurrence and the dead body. It is corroborated by the statement of PW-10 Kashmir Singh ASI when he has admitted in his cross-examination that the names of the accused and the complainant are not mentioned in Ex. PB which is a request for post-mortem examination. The dead body, according to him, was despatched at about 1.00 p.m.
30. The delay of about 12 hours in reporting the matter to the police and further delay of about 4 hours to send special report to the Ilaqa Magistrate, was used by the prosecution for due deliberations and consultations in order to name someone as the culprits in this case.
31. Another factor which clinches that the FIR was recorded after due deliberations and consultations after examining the spot and the dead body, is the statement of PW-7 Sadhu Singh, the real brother of the deceased Nachhatar Singh. He has stated in his examination-in-chief that he was joined by the police and went to the place of occurrence where dead body of his brother Nachhatar Singh was lying. Police had prepared the inquest report there and he attested the same and his statement was also recorded in those proceedings. He has admitted in the cross-examination that he had learnt about the murder of his brother Nachhatar Singh at about 9/9.15 a.m. He was present at his house in his village at that time. He further stated in cross-examination that he could not tell the name of the person who informed him about it. He further admits in the cross-examination that he was leaving for the place of occurrence on scooter when the police party met him in the village circular road and he then accompanied the police to the spot. Then he has clearly admitted in his cross-examination that statement of Hakam Singh PW-2 regarding the occurrence leading to the murder, was also recorded at the spot by the police in his presence.
32. Hakam Singh PW-2 has admitted in his cross-examination that he did not tell the number of the combine-harvester in his statement Ex. PD but in the FIR Ex. PD/2 combine No. PB-13/B-2571 has been mentioned. This fact further goes to show that the FIR was prepared at the spot.
33. The statement of Sadhu Singh and the other evidence which we have discussed above, do not lead to any conclusion except that nobody had seen the occurrence and the prosecution has just concocted the story merely on surmises.
34. It has come in the evidence of the doctor Baljit Singh (PW-1) who conducted the post-mortem examination on the dead body of Nachhatar Singh on 29.9.1992 at 2.00 p.m. that stomach of the deceased contained small quantity of semi-digested food; small intestines contained semi-digested food and large intestines contained feacel matter. According to the doctor the deceased must have taken his last meals between two to four hours prior to death and death in his opinion was instantaneous. Though the presence of semi-digested food in the stomach cannot be a sure test to find out the timing of the death but in the circumstances of this case it so seems that the victim was murdered sometime at about mid-night which again falsifies the ocular testimony of the alleged eye witnesses. The injuries on the deceased as indicated by the medical officer disclose that all the injuries on the deceased were on the right side of head, right cheek and right side of upper lip. It is also suggestive of the fact that perhaps the deceased was sleeping at night and injuries were inflicted on his body by some unknown person while he has sleeping.
35. Alleged recovery of iron-rod is also fake and a padding and the extra- judicial confession alleged to have been made by the accused before Gurdial Singh, Ex-Sarpanch of village Sheron also seems to be a sheer manipulation. PW-6 Gurdial Singh, who belongs to the village of Hakam Singh, the real brother of the deceased, has admitted in the cross-examination that Malkiat Singh accused had never visited him at his house prior to the incident. He had also not gone to his house during this period and he was not related to Malkiat Singh. He has then admitted that the distance between his village Sheron from village Chanarthal Khurd of the accused Malkiat Singh, was about 60 miles. He then admitted that the accused had met him at the bus-stand by chance. He then admitted in his cross-examination that earlier to it, he had never produced any person before the police which person may have been accused of murder. This fact is further corroborated by ASI Kashmir Singh (PW-10) when he admitted in his cross-examination that Gurdial Singh Ex-Sarpanch had never produced any other accused before him nor in his presence. PW-6 has then admitted in his cross-examination that it was correct that place of recovery was along a public thoroughfare and was accessible to all. PW-10 ASI Kashmir Singh has also admitted in his cross-examination that the place of recovery was an open place and anyone could approach it. Even the reports of the Serologist and the Chemical Examiner are also not helpful to the prosecution in this regard. The Serologist/Chemical Examiner have reported that the blood-stains on the recovered articles were disintegrated and their origin could not be determined. The recovery of weapons, thus, could not be connected with the crime.
36. Taking all this factual position into consideration, we find that the presence of alleged eye witnesses PW-2 Hakam Singh and PW-3 Piara Singh, is highly doubtful.
37. We are not impressed by the reasoning of the learned Additional Sessions Judge while explaining the delay in lodging the First Information Report that ordinarily people would not move out from their villages even in the rarest emergency cases till they were sure of the fact that armed police protection is available, particularly so, when in this case Hakam Singh and Piara Singh were freely moving and they had gone to provide meals in the fields to Malkiat Singh and Nachhatar Singh deceased at night at about 9.00 p.m. In this case both of them did not move from the place of occurrence till 9.00 a.m. in the morning of the next day to inform the police or the other relations of the deceased.
38. The learned Additional Sessions Judge has brushed aside the material contradictions in the statements of the witnesses, referred to above, without any sound reasoning.
39. The introduction of motive that there was a quarrel between the deceased and the accused Malkiat Singh one day prior to the date of occurrence, is also an after-thought and it is ruled out of the consideration particularly in view of the statement of PW-2 Hakam Singh that their harvester was previously working in Ferozepur District but had come to their village on the day when occurrence took place.
40. In view of our discussion made above, we find that the prosecution has not been able to prove its case against the convict appellant beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, we set aside the judgment/order of the Additional Sessions Judge, dated 28.1.1994 and acquit the convict-appellant by giving him the benefit of doubt. Consequently, the appeal is accepted and the convict-appellant is absolved of all the charges framed against him and he is set at liberty forthwith if he is not required in any other case.