Mumbai: The Bombay high court has upheld conviction of Kolhapur-based Sanjay Kengar – who killed his wife in June 2014 by hitting her on head with a heavy stone used for grinding spices as he suspected her character – despite his mother, who informed the police about the incident, turned hostile during the trial.
A division bench of justices Sadhana Jadhav and Sarang Kotwal upheld the conviction observing: “The fact that she (Kengar’s mother) had gone to the police station and that the information was taken down in the station diary stands proved. Subsequently, she had denied having gone to police station is a circumstance which shows that this witness Laxmibai is trying to help her son.”
The HC was hearing an appeal filed by Kengar challenging his conviction by the Kolhapur session court. On July 15, 2015, the session court sentenced him to life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 2,000, if he defaults to pay the fine amount, he would have to undergo additional three months in prison.
They were married for over 13 years and had a son, who was 11-years-old at the time of the incident.
According to the prosecution, Kengar used to harass his wife suspecting his character. Due to this, she had gone to reside with her parents for over 7-8 months. A few days before the incident, Kengar had gone to Aarti and convinced her to return assuring her that he would treat her properly.
Additional public prosecutor Arfan Sait said that on the day prior to the incident, Aarti had informed her mother that Kengar was harassing her even more. Her mother promised her to take her away in a day or two.
Sait pointed out to the court that immediately after the incident, the neighbours had heard Laxmibai and Kengar’s sister shouting that he had assaulted Aarti and run away. Laxmibai had rushed to the nearby police station and said that he had assaulted Aarti. The prosecution produced police station diary which gave details of Laxmibai’s statement.
One of the neighbours, who was waiting to fill water from a common tap, too testified that she had initially seen Kengar loitering outside his house. After some time where there was commotion in their house, she saw Aarti lying in a pool of blood and Kengar was no where to be seen.
However, during the trial Laxmibai denied that the police had recorded her statement or that she had told the police that Kengar had assaulted Aarti. Even Kengar’s sister who had raised an alarm turned hostile before the trial court.
The police had recovered Kengar’s pants with blood marks on it. The Chemical Analysis report proved that the blood on Kengar’s pants matched with Aarti’s blood group and was not that of Kengar.
Kengar’s advocate, Ashish Satpute, argued that the case was based purely on circumstantial evidence and that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Besides, the prosecution had not established the motive behind the alleged murder, argued Satpute.
Dismissing the arguments, the HC said that it was proved beyond doubt that Kengar and Aarti’s relations were strained due to which she had gone to reside with her parents.
The HC observed: “The prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the relations between the appellant (Kengar) and the deceased (Aarti) were not good.”
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