NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has set free two Italians, undergoing life imprisonment for murder of their friend in 2010, saying the evidence submitted by the prosecution to suggest motive does not inspire confidence.
A bench of justices A R Dave, Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi set aside the Allahabad High Court order which had confirmed the life imprisonment to Italian nationals Tomaso Bruno and Elisa Betta Bon Compagni.
"In the case at hand, evidence adduced by the prosecution suggesting motive is only by way of improvement at the stage of trial which, in our view, does not inspire confidence of the court...In the present case, the courts have not properly appreciated the evidence and gap in the chain of circumstances sought to be established by the prosecution.
"Upon consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the circumstances and the evidence adduced by the prosecution do not form a complete chain pointing to the guilt of the accused and the benefit of doubt is to be given to the accused and the conviction of the appellants is liable to be set aside," the bench said.
It also said that the courts have ignored the importance of "best evidence" i.e CCTV camera in the case at hand and also have not noticed the absence of symptoms of strangulation in the medical reports.
According to the prosecution, Tomaso and Victa along with their friend Francesco Montis had arrived in Varanasi from London on January 31, 2010 and checked in at a hotel in the city.
On February 4, 2010, Victa informed the manager of the hotel that Francesco's condition was not fine after which they took him to a hospital, where the doctors declared the tourist as "brought dead".
Later, on the basis of the postmortem report and other materials, an FIR against Tomaso and Victa was lodged.
In July 2011, the lower court had awarded life imprisonment to them besides a fine of Rs 25,000. The High Court upheld the verdict.