‘Gap in proof’: 8 yrs on, SC acquits man given death for rape-murder of 6-year-old | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has acquitted a man, who was living under the shadow of death penalty for over eight years, having been concurrently awarded capital punishment for sexually assaulting and killing a six-year-old girl in Bhayander police station.
A bench of Justices B R Gavai, Vikram Nath and Sanjay Karol acquitted Prakash Nishad of all charges, including rape and murder, after finding yawning gaps in the circumstantial evidence and scientific tests, the only two available means in the blind murder case to convict the accused. Justice Karol said, “Numerous lapses (in evidence gathering) blot the entire map. We have pointed out multiple instances which have led to the chain of circumstances remaining broken, the larger picture. . . being that the person, whomsoever they may have been, remains unpunished to this day. ”
In the 2010 crime, the trial court had convicted Nishad and awarded him the death sentence on November 27, 2014, which was confirmed by the Bombay HCon October 14, 2015.
The bench felt that the gruesome manner in which the heinous crime was committed on a young girl swayed the trial court and HC to gloss over material contradictions in the circumstantial evidence and the faulty procedure and non-corroborative nature of DNA analysis of the blood and semen samples.
“What weighed with the courts below is more so evident from the findings returned by the HC, i.e., nature of the alleged crime being indeed one of the heart-breaking, horrific and most depraved kind, prompting the confirmation of the death sentence awarded by the trial court, considering the case to be the rarest of rare,” Justice Karol said.
After an in depth and meticulous examination of the evidences afresh, both circumstantial and scientific, the bench listed out the lapses on the part of the prosecution:
“Unexplained delay in sending the samples collected for analysis; a premises already searched was searched again, the reason for which is not borne from record; lock panchnama (record) is not prepared; no samples of blood and semen of the appellant can be said to have been drawn by any medical or para medical staff; allegedly an additional sample is taken from the appellant more than a month after the arrest; alleged disclosure statement of the appellant was never read over and explained to the appellant in his vernacular language; the appellant was not residing alone at the place alleged to be his residence; and what was the basis of appellant being a suspect at the first instance, remains a mystery; persons who may have shed light on essential aspects went unexamined etc., such multitudinous lapses have compromised the quest to punish the doer of such a barbaric act in absolute peril.”

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