The orders of the Additional Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court-I) in Erode, awarding life sentence to two persons for allegedly murdering a watchman for gain in a temple in Uthukuli, were set aside by the Madras High Court on Monday.
“There is no evidence to link the appellants either with the death of the deceased or dacoity,” a division bench comprising Justices K N Basha and P Devadass observed and quashed the lower court conviction order.
Murugasamy was found murdered inside the Vetrivelayuthasamy temple situated at a lonely place in the hillock on January 27, 2004. Table-drawers and hundial were found broken. The deity’s coronet, chest-armour, feet-armour and hand-armour and a two-wheeler of Murugasamy were found missing.
Following a complaint from the temple priest, the local police registered a case and arrested Shankar and Ramesh. As some other accused were absconding, the cast was split into two and the case against Shankar and Ramesh was taken to the Sessions Court, which awarded, among other things, life term to the duo. Hence, the present appeals.
Appellants contended that there was no evidence to link them to the death of Murugasamy. The recovery of temple properties from their possession had also not been established, they added.
After perusing the records, the bench observed that the recoveries projected in this case were tainted, open to doubt, lacked credibility and it was a stage-managed show. When the very recovery evidence pressed into service had not been established, the question of raising presumption vide Sec 114 of the Evidence Act and no -offering of explanation by the accused as to the recovery during their examination under Sec 313 CrPC did not arise. The prosecution had not established the charges framed against the appellants, the judges added, and set aside the lower court order.