Mumbai: A man accused of killing a job seeker after robbing him in September 2021 has been granted bail by the Bombay High Court. The court said that the prosecution prima facie failed to substantiate the circumstantial evidence against him. Justice SM Modak granted bail to Sagar Ponnala, noting that apart from call records there was nothing more to connect him to the crime.
Ponnala allegedly called the victim to a spot and convinced him to share an auto by posing as a driver. The co-accused were present in the rickshaw as co-passengers. He then assaulted the victim with a sickle and a rod, robbed him of his belongings, and allegedly dumped him on a road nearby. The victim died in the hospital three days later.
Circumstantial evidence-based case
The prosecution based its case on circumstantial evidence. The police seized a bag, purportedly belonging to the victim. It also relied on call records between the victim’s mobile phone and the mobile allegedly belonging to Ponnala.
The bag, which allegedly belonged to the victim, was thrown in the compound of a residential building by a co-accused, who was a juvenile. The watchman of a nearby building, who allegedly witnessed this, picked up the bag and held onto it for a week.
Ponnala’s advocate Misbah Solkar argued that the same bag was shown to the police as seized from Ponnala, since he allegedly pointed out the spot where it was thrown. He also argued that the investigating officer failed to seize Ponnala’s phone.
Prosecution failed to show any material to prove the mobile number belonged to the accused
The court, meanwhile, rejected the prosecution’s argument that the bag collected by the watchman near the crime scene and handed over to the police days later could be termed as a recovery at Ponnala’s behest merely because he allegedly pointed out the place where the bag was left. The court observed that the victim’s call records reflected one number repeatedly which had Ponnala’s name. However, the prosecution failed to show any material which proved the mobile number belonged to him.