Teen murder case: Court says mere presence at crime scene is no proof of culpability

·2-min read

Mumbai, Jun 30 (PTI) Mere presence at the scene of incident is not sufficient circumstance to conclude that an accused committed the alleged offence, a court here observed while granting bail to one of the accused in the Jhanvi Kukreja murder case.

Kukreja (19) was found dead with severe injuries on the staircase of a residential building in Khar in the metropolis in the early hours of January 1 post a New Year’s Eve party, where she had gone with the two accused, Diya Padalkar and Shree Jogdhankar.

Judge M M Umar on June 25 granted bail to Padalkar and rejected the plea of Jogdhankar, and the reasoned copy of the order was made available on Wednesday.

The court, in its order, noted that admittedly there is no eyewitness to the murder of Kukreja, so the entire case is hinged on circumstantial evidence.

Whether the applicant (Padalkar) had a motive to kill her best childhood friend or she participated in the crime with the main co-accused or whatever it may be can be resolved in a full-fledged trial, the court said.

'Mere presence of the applicant at the place of incident, and also not explaining the injury caused to her lip, as alleged, is not sufficient circumstance at this juncture to conclude that she has committed that alleged offence,' it said.

It is for the prosecution to prove each and every circumstance against the applicant in a full-fledged trial of the case, so also prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt, it added.

The court rejected Jogdhankar’s bail plea, citing that his role appears totally different and there is material evidence against him.

'Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, it appears that there is ample material even at this stage, prima facie, leading to an inference of there being reasonable grounds for believing that the applicant is guilty of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life,' the court noted.

While the investigation material revealed that the applicant was of aggressive nature and hot tempered, forensic reports and other material on record are ex-facie against him, the court added. PTI AVI ARU ARU

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