The court was hearing the criminal appeal preferred by Selvi (appellant) challenging the conviction and life sentence imposed by the Thanjavur mahila court in 2020.
The case of the prosecution is that Kiliammal, 85, who did not have any children was taken care of by her relative. The appellant noticed that Kiliammal was wearing gold jewellery and decided to steal the same. On March 10, 2016, the appellant volunteered to take Kiliammal to the hospital and asked her to come to her house.
The appellant gave her food and while Kiliammal was resting, she demanded the gold jewellery.
Since Kiliammal refused, the appellant assaulted her using a wooden log which resulted in her death. Thereafter, the appellant stole the gold jewellery from Kiliammal.
A division bench of justice J Nisha Banu and justice N Anand Venkatesh observed that in a case based on circumstantial evidence, motive assumes a great significance. The prosecution is attempting to project this case as a murder for gain.
The judges observed that in the present case, the extra judicial confession was given by the appellant on March 15, 2016 and the entire recovery was completed at a break-neck speed on a single day. The recoveries that have been effected were merely make-believe ones and they do not inspire the confidence of this court.
“The case of the prosecution is infested with gaping holes. The chain of circumstances gets snapped at various points and it is not complete so as to exclude the hypothesis other than the guilt of the accused,” observed the judges.
The high court has absolutely no hesitation to come to a conclusion that the prosecution did not prove the case beyond reasonable doubts and the benefit of doubt must go to the accused. Hence, the judges set aside the conviction and life sentence imposed by the trial court and acquitted the appellant of all charges.