The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to a man who was booked for allegedly smothering 21-year-old daughter-in-law to death, whose body was discovered stuffed in a gunny bag at Malad’s Aksa beach in December 2020.
The court held that there is no eyewitness to the incident and prima facie prosecution could not prove beyond reasonable doubt an involvement of the applicant in the said crime, while it should have had excluded every possibility of applicant’s innocence.
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“Since the material compiled in the charge sheet, prima facie, falls short of the above, the applicant deserves his release on bail,” the court held.
A single judge bench of Justice Bharati H Dangre on August 2 passed an order in a bail plea by accused Kamalnarayan Laxmi Ray, who was booked for murdering his daughter-in-law Nandini in December 2020.
Advocate Hare Krishna Mishra representing Ray submitted that his client was falsely implicated in the case and the prosecution had only relied on circumstantial evidence and failed to show the applicant’s involvement in the case, which the court accepted.
As per prosecution, the deceased woman’s father lodged a complaint at Samata Nagar police in Kandivali, stating that she was missing since December 8, 2020.
Sixteen days later, a police officer from Malvani police station received an information from a Naval officer that a big gunny sack was found on the seashore at the back side of the INS Hamla situated at Malad (West). The FIR was registered at Malvani police station under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC.
The prosecution had claimed that Ray was suspecting her character and after eliminating her, the body along with bed sheet and pillow was packed in a white gunnysack, which was thrown into the sea to destroy evidence.
The deceased’s father in his missing report stated that his daughter had eloped with Ray’s son and they got married when she was 17 years and 11 months old. Nandini, who went missing on December 8, 2020 lived with her husband Pankaj and father-in-law at Poisar area in Kandivali East.
Pankaj had gone to Bihar to attend a Chhath Pooja and the woman had been staying with her father-in-law since. When she was nowhere to be found for a couple of days, a missing complaint was lodged by her father.
Advocate Mishra said that the police have come up with a “bogus story of contract killing and has shown false recovery of the amount from the co-accused, which in no case, matches with the evidence in the charge sheet.” He added that the probe against the 60-year-old applicant is complete and as the trial is likely to consume considerable time, therefore he shall be released on bail.
Justice Dangre observed that statements by witnesses did not assign any role to the applicant and they do not refer to any quibble between the deceased and the father-in-law. The court noted that “mere one circumstance that the applicant left for his native place (in Bihar) when his daughter-in-law went missing by itself cannot implicate him for the offence of murder.”
Granting bail to the applicant by seeking his cooperation with the probe, the judge held that “the prosecution has failed to attribute any motive to the applicant for eliminating the deceased.”