Bombay high court says suspicion can’t replace proof, frees lifer

Tuesday, 4 February 2014 - 11:49am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Bombay high court on Monday overturned the conviction of a man sentenced to life imprisonment for killing his two daughters after quarrelling with his wife over not having a son.

Karamat Faras apparently took the girls from school on August 20, 2007, and two days later their bodies were recovered after he confessed to drowning them in the Panchganga river at Ichalkaranji.

Hearing an appeal filed by Faras against the June 2010 judgment of the sessions court, Belgaon, the judges said, “In a criminal case, the court has a duty to ensure that mere conjectures or suspicion don’t take the place of legal proof.”

“It’s necessary to bear in mind that there is no link or evidence on record of any one to establish that the appellant was seen along with the girls, taking them out from the school. We find it difficult to rely that there could be no witnesses.”

Additional public prosecutor VR Bhonsale said Faras and his wife Tanuja had four daughters. They had quarrelled over not having a son and Faras threatened to kill Tanuja and the children. Faras’s counsel Arfan Sait argued that during the trial Tanuja didn’t support the prosecution. Also, while the girls’ teachers testified that Faras had taken them away, there were no other witnesses to that.

“The large distance between ‘may be’ and ‘must be’ true, must be covered by way of clear, cogent and unimpeachable evidence produced by the prosecution, before an accused is condemned as a convict...,” the court stated.

Tanuja left the house, taking the two younger daughters along, and went to live with her mother at Kolhapur. The other two girls were in school and so she left them with Faras.

On the day, Faras took the girls from school. He then visited Tanuja and tried to take away the other two. But Tanuja and her mother managed to pull away the daughters. Faras is said to have confessed that he drowned the two daughters in the Panchganga river.

Court battle
The prosecution said Faras and his wife Tanuja had quarrelled over not having a son and Faras had threatened to kill Tanuja and their four daughters. Faras’s counsel said during the trial Tanuja didn’t support the prosecution. Also, while the girls’ teachers testified that Faras had taken them away, there were no other witnesses to that.


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