There is insufficient evidence to convict the suspect, the court said after the key witness retracted his statement.
Mumbai,UPDATED: 16 Oct 2022 16:12 IST
Bombay Supreme Court said there was not enough evidence to convict and grant bail
By Vidya : A Pune man accused of strangling his second wife in 2020 has been released on bail by the Bombay Supreme Court. The lead witness, taking a statement before a magistrate, made a U-turn and there was insufficient evidence to convict the accused, the court noted.
In August 2020, police received information about a body of a woman – later identified as Aparna – in an apartment in the Hadapsar area of Pune. Police then arrested Surendra Salunkhe, her husband. The prosecution’s case was that Aparna was Salunkhe’s second wife, and he suspected her character. That’s why she was strangled and killed.
There was no eyewitness to the crime and the police based their case on circumstantial evidence – such as where Aparna and Salunkhe were last seen together, the motive behind the murder, the clothing recovered, etc.
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Lawyers Satyavrat Joshi and Nitesh Mohite, who appeared before Salunkhe, pointed to a shopkeeper’s statement that was taken in by the police and later by the magistrate. The shopkeeper said in his statement to police that he had seen Salunkhe and Aparna together on the day of the incident. However, he retracted his statement before the magistrate and said nothing about the last time he saw the couple together.
Other witnesses said in their statements to police that they had seen Salunkhe and Aparna together and one witness claimed that Salunkhe had assaulted Aparna. However, Joshi said that “these circumstances are not enough to prove the murder charge against Salunkhe”.
Justice PD Naik noted that Aparna and Salunkhe were initially in a relationship and then married. It appeared from the recorded statements that Salunkhe would sometimes stay with Aparna. However, with the shopkeeper returning “there is no strong evidence to indicate that Salunkhe and Aparna were together the night of the incident. Salunkhe has been incarcerated for two years. There are no criminal antecedents against him. Therefore, Salunkhe can get bail.”
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