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Co-accused's statement not enough for conviction: HC
January, 04th 2012

The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled that an accused can't be convicted just on the basis of a co-accused's statement. "The statement of co-accused can always be used if the accused is being tried primarily on other evidence. But his statement cannot be foundation to convict the accused when that is only the sole material," the court said.

A single judge bench of justice Ambadas Joshi then acquitted an accused for offences of theft, cheating and forgery. "Allowing the trial to proceed would mean nothing but waste of time of the court, the prosecution, and would burden the state exchequer. Apart from that it tends to disrepute the criminal law administrative system," a justice Joshi observed before disposing of the plea.

"Permitting trial on such unsustainable material would be vexing the accused and burdening the courts with prosecution which cannot be reasonably expected to fructify or at least could be worthy of trial," the court said before absolving accused Pravin Kalmegh who filed the petition through his counsel Akash Moon and PS Mohgaonkar of all charges.

Kalmegh (co-accused) along with Vijay Kene, the prime accused, were charged under sections 420, 34 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). On First Information Report (FIR) of July 16, 2009, the Imambada police station arrested the duo and subsequently filed a chargesheet on September 20 in same year.

The petitioner filed four separate petitions contending he was prosecuted in four crimes only on the basis of Kene's version and there is no other evidence available against him. He further argued that Kene named him just to satisfy his personal grudge and enmity and falsely implicated him in the crime.

The HC found there indeed was no other proof on record against petitioner. The court citing many Supreme Court and HC judgments quashed and set aside the criminal proceedings in all four cases.

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