The Bombay High Court discharged a man who had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison by a trial court for murdering a lady on the grounds that the police investigation was suspect in Ganesh Bhagya Mandavkar v. State of Maharashtra.
Upon examining the evidence, a Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Milind Jadhav issued a decision stating that the approach in which the police probe was undertaken is extremely problematic on the surface of the case.
The Bench further ordered that adequate measures are put in place against the police officers who conducted the investigation, as well as a copy of the Court’s 28-page decision being forwarded to the Superintendent of Police of the involved district.
The remarks were made in response to an appeal filed by Ganesh Mandavkar, who was appealing a conviction verdict issued by the Raigad Sessions Judge in Maharashtra, which sentenced him to life in jail for murdering a lady.
The reported occurrence occurred in 2017, when the deceased’s body was recovered in the bush. On the same day, a first information report was filed against unknown parties, and the appellant was detained a month later.
Mandavkar and a co-accused, who died in the middle of the trial, denied any involvement in the crime and claimed that they were the victims of a fake case.
Meanwhile, the prosecution claims that the two defendants solicited sexual favours from the deceased woman, who declined, and then strangled her to death with a towel. Mandavkar’s court-appointed legal aid attorney, barrister Ashish Satpute, argued that the police investigation was unlawful and insufficient.
He stated that the challenged decision was based on a police investigation that was flawed, and that the accused was sentenced based on speculation and circumstantial evidence.
The Bench remarked that the “possibility of the minor witness being educated over the subsequent 23 days cannot be ruled out” based on the examination records of the witnesses, particularly of a six-year-old putative eye-witness.
The Bench stated that information must be handled with extreme caution because it concerns the appellant’s life and liberty.
The juvenile witness was allegedly the only eyewitness to the occurrence, but the Bench reasoned that his testimony was riddled with discrepancies and without appropriate corroboration.
The Bench overturned the conviction order based on these views, observing “without the benefit of the evidence.”