After nine years, Munjaba Giri walked free after the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court exonerated him from charges of causing a radio explosion in a bus conductor’s house in Kalegaon Ghat in Beed district in which the conductor, his wife, son and mother suffered severe injuries.
A division bench of justices VK Jadhav and SG Dighe acquitted Giri observing: “In the instant case, we do not think that the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution are of conclusive nature and tendency. There is no complete chain of circumstantial evidence and we are unable to infer, in all human probability, that the said act must have been done by the appellant.”
The HC has set aside life imprisonment and Rs 10,000 fine imposed by the sessions judge, Ambajogai, on Giri. The HC has also acquitted him of charges under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act [Atrocities Act] wherein he was sentenced to two years of imprisonment and Rs 1,000 fine.
While acquitting Giri from all charges, the HC has directed that he be set free immediately if not required in any other case.
According to prosecution, Giri was booked under the Atrocities Act on a complaint filed by Gopinath Tarkase. He was arrested and was in jail for 17 days before being released on bail. In order to take revenge, Giri purchased a mobile phone, a radio, three battery cells and gelatin and detonators in Tarkase’s name. After making a crude bomb, Giri left the radio and mobile phone’s receipts in a bag in a bus.
Oam Nimbalkar, the bus conductor, did not deposit the bag at the Ambajogai bus depot and took it home. After putting battery cells in the radio, Nimbalkar switched the radio following which there was an explosion. Nimbalkar lost his two hands below the wrist and both eyes. His wife Usha lost one eye and one leg below the knee. His mother Kusum lost her eye sight. His son Kunal lost his both eyes.
Additional public prosecutor SP Deshmukh argued that Giri also fabricated false evidence, in terms of receipts, against Tarkase. The police recovered radio’s purchase receipt which were in Tarkase’s name and its speaker and kit from Giri’s house.
Giri’s counsel, SS Thombre, argued that the prosecution case was entirely based on circumstantial evidence and there was no direct evidence. The prosecution had failed to prove the chain of circumstantial evidence.
Thombre argued that the owner and an employee of the shop from where the mobile was purchased identified Giri in court during the trial as the police had taken him (Giri) to shop during the investigation. “Both the witnesses (shop owner and employee) have identified Giri in the court only for the reason that he was taken to the shop by the police during the course of investigation,” argued Thombre.
Further, Thombre contended that “The circumstances relied upon by the prosecution have no definite tendency to point out the guilt of the accused. It may create suspicion against the accused and same cannot take the place of truth. There is no evidence as to who has kept the said parcel containing the radio along with bill of mobile handset in the bus.”
As per the requirements of the Explosive Substances Act, the investigation officer has to obtain consent from the District Magistrate which was not done in this case. Hence the trial against Giri vitiates as far as charges under the Explosive Substances Act is concerned,
The sessions court had acquitted another accused Datta Jadhav, from whose shop the radio was purchased, citing lack of evidence.