when the prosecution has been successful in proving the conspiracy between the accused as well as the accused committed the murder of the deceased, motive may not have that much relevance.


Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah

1
NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 971 OF 2012
VIDYALAKSHMI @ VIDYA ..APPELLANT
VERSUS
STATE OF KERALA ..RESPONDENT
WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 852­853 OF 2014
ANAND SABARIRAJ @ AND ETC. ..APPELLANTS
VERSUS
STATE OF KERALA ..RESPONDENT
J U D G M E N T
M.R.SHAH, J.
As common question of law and facts arise in this group of
appeals and as such arise out of the common impugned
2
judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the High
Court of Kerala at Ernakulam, all these appeals are decided and
disposed of by this common judgment and order.

  1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned
    common judgment and order passed by the Division Bench of the
    High Court, by which the High Court has dismissed the said
    appeals preferred by the respective Accused Nos. 1 to 3 and has
    confirmed the judgment and order of conviction and sentence
    imposed by the learned trial Court convicting the original
    Accused for the offences punishable under Section 302 read with
    Section 34 of the IPC (original Accused Nos. 1 & 2), for the
    offences punishable under Section 120B of the IPC (original
    Accused Nos. 1 & 3) and for the offences punishable under
    Section 302 read with Section 114 of the IPC (original Accused
    No.3) and convicting the original Accused Nos. 1 & 2 for the
    offences under Section 379 read with Section 34 of the IPC, the
    original accused Nos. 1 to 3 have preferred the present appeals.
  2. As per the case of the prosecution, Accused No.1 and
    Accused No.3 had been lovers for more than last three years.
    The marriage of the Accused No.3 was solemnised on 7.6.2006
    with one Anandaraman (the deceased) in Chennai against the will
    3
    of Accused No.3. It was the case of the prosecution that after the
    solemnisation of the marriage with a view to live with Accused
    No.1 after doing away with Anandaraman before 18.06.2006,
    Accused No.1 and Accused No.3 hatched up a conspiracy and
    solicited the assistance of A2 and subsequently A2 became a
    party to the conspiracy. It was the further case on behalf of the
    prosecution that Accused No.3 after the marriage planned with
    Anandaraman to go to different tourist centres in Kerala under
    the guise of a honeymoon celebration and disclosed the
    particulars of such journeys and visits to Accused No.1. The
    couple started from Chennai on 16.06.2006 to Kerala for visiting
    Guruvayoor and Munnar. Accused No.3 with pre­determination
    passed information to Accused No.1 through mobile phone,
    whereby to facilitate Accused No.1 and Accused No.2 to
    pursue/follow the couple. Accused No.3 led Anandaraman to the
    Kundala Dam at Munnar (place of the offence) under the pretext
    of going tour and thereafter having boating she took
    Anandaraman to a lonely place and brought about the arrival of
    first and second accused thereby passing information over mobile
    phone. The case of the prosecution is that the deceased was led
    4
    by Accused No.3 to a catchment area which afforded opportunity
    for implementation of the scheme of conspirators.
    3.1 According to the prosecution, AI and A2 who had reached
    there found the opportunity and caused the death of the
    deceased by ligature strangulation with MO.7 (Camera Strip) and
    smothering. It was further the case of the prosecution that
    Accused No.2 committed robbery of Rs.13,000/­ kept inside the
    pocket of the pants worn by Anandaraman and Accused No.1
    committed robbery of wrist watch valued at Rs.2,000/­ and the
    camera valuing to Rs.10,000/­, totalling to Rs.25,000/­. As per
    the case of the prosecution, as part of the conspiracy, Accused
    No.3 removed herself the gold chain from her neck and entrusted
    to Accused No.1 and she herself stained her dress with stain of
    blood and after being satisfied from message over mobile phone
    that Accused Nos. 1 and 2 had escaped, misrepresented the facts
    and to create a story as if some unknown persons have
    committed the robbery and had killed Anandaraman taking
    advantage of the lonely place. The first information report was
    lodged before the police by PW1 – Sam Vincent, the driver of the
    vehicle in which A3 and the deceased had travelled. The Circle
    Police Inspector started investigation. According to the
    5
    prosecution, thereafter Accused No.1 & 2 had panicked on seeing
    a police van proceeding to Kundala Dam – the scene of the crime.
    They came to know that word had gone around that a crime had
    been committed and the police were looking for two persons who
    had allegedly committed that crime. They somehow wanted to
    leave Munnar to some other place. Thereafter they made
    enquiries with PW2 and others as to how they could hurriedly
    leave Munnar. Their conduct allegedly aroused suspicion in the
    mind of PW2 and his friends. They ensured that A1 and A2 did
    not escape and informed the police about the suspicious
    activities of A1 and A2. Thereupon A1 and A2 were taken to the
    police station.
    3.2 During the course of the investigation, the Investigating
    Officer collected incriminating material against the accused. The
    Investigating Officer also recorded the statements of the
    concerned witnesses. The Investigating Officer found that the
    clothes worn by A1 to A3 were stained with human blood. They
    further found that the nail clippings of A1 and A2 had blood
    marks on them. They recovered MO.6 – tour programme –
    itinerary of A3 and the deceased in the handwriting of A3 from
    the possession of A1. During the course of the investigation, the
    6
    IO recovered, at the instance of Accused Nos. 1 & 2, watch,
    camera and cash of the deceased and the gold chain of A3,
    which, according to A3, was taken away from her by force by the
    unknown miscreants. The deceased, at the scene of the crime,
    had some scalp hairs of the miscreants within his fingers, which
    came to be seized by the police while preparing the inquest
    report. On conclusion of the investigation, the Investigation
    Officer filed the charge sheet/final report against the accused for
    the offences punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34
    IPC, Section 302 read with Section 120B IPC, Section 302 read
    with Section 114 IPC and Section 379 IPC against the respective
    Accused Nos. 1 to 3. The case was committed to the Court of
    Sessions. The accused pleaded not guilty and therefore they
    came to be tried by the learned Sessions Court for the aforesaid
    offences.
  3. To prove the charge against the accused, the prosecution
    examined in all 40 witnesses. The prosecution also produced on
    record through witnesses the documentary evidence – Exhibits
    P1 to P80. M.Os 1 to 51 series were also marked by the
    prosecution. Thereafter, the prosecution submitted the closing
    pursis. The accused did not adduce any evidence at the stage of
    7
    defence. However, Exhibit D1 was marked by A2 when PW29
    was examined. Thereafter, the statements of the accused under
    Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. were recorded. In their 313
    statements, the accused had taken up the defence of total denial.
    It appears that A1 and A3 did not dispute their relationship. In
    fact, they did admit their relationship. But, according to them,
    the relationship had been put to an end in 2004 and that
    thereafter, A3 had willingly married with the deceased. They
    denied any contact between them after 2004. A3 filed a detailed
    written statement. It was the case on behalf of the accused that
    they were not in any way responsible for the murder of the
    deceased Anandaraman and that they had been falsely
    implicated by the police.
  4. The learned trial Court, on appreciation of the evidence,
    came to the conclusion that the prosecution has successfully
    established the offence of conspiracy under Section 120B
    between A1 and A3. The learned trial Court also came to the
    conclusion that the murder of the deceased Anandaraman was
    executed by A1 and A2 in the presence of A3 at the scene of the
    crime ­ Kundala dam using MO7 – Camera Strip. The trial Court
    also observed and found that the death of the deceased was
    8
    caused by a ligature strangulation and there were also attempt to
    smother the deceased. The learned trial Court further came to
    the conclusion that attempts were made deliberately to mislead
    others by stating that it was the case of some unknown
    miscreants to commit theft/robbery of valuable articles which the
    deceased and A3 were having with them. Thereafter, the learned
    trial Court convicted the original Accused No.1 – Anand for the
    offence punishable under Section 302 of the IPC and also for the
    offence under Section 120B and Section 379 of the IPC. The
    learned trial Court sentenced the original Accused No.1 to
    imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/­ for the
    offence punishable under Section 302 of the IPC, and in default
    of payment of fine, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one
    year more. He is also sentenced life imprisonment and to pay a
    fine of Rs.5,000/­ under Section 120B of the IPC, and in default
    of payment of fine, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one
    year more. While convicting the original Accused No.1 for the
    offence punishable under Section 379 of the IPC, learned trial
    Court further sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for
    three years.
    9
    5.1 The learned trial Court convicted original Accused No.2 for
    the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC and sentenced him
    life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.5,000/­, in default of
    payment of fine, rigorous imprisonment for one year more. The
    learned trial Court sentenced Accused No.2 to undergo three
    years rigorous imprisonment for the offence punishable under
    Section 379 of the IPC.
    5.2 The learned trial Court convicted the Accused No.3 for the
    offences punishable under Sections 302 read with 114 of the IPC
    and sentenced her to undergo life imprisonment and to pay a fine
    of Rs.50,000/­, in default of payment of fine, to further undergo
    three years rigorous imprisonment. Accused No.3 is also
    sentenced for life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.50,000/­
    under Section 120B of the IPC, and in default of payment of fine,
    to further undergo three years rigorous imprisonment.
    5.3 The learned trial Court ordered that the substantive
    sentences of imprisonment awarded to each of the accused shall
    run concurrently.
  5. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and
    order of conviction and sentence passed by the Sessions Court,
    the original Accused Nos. 1 to 3 preferred appeals before the High
    10
    Court of Kerala at Ernakulam. By the common impugned
    judgment and order, the High Court has dismissed the appeals.
    Hence, the present appeals.
  6. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respective
    appellants have vehemently submitted that in the facts and
    circumstances of the case, both, the learned trial Court as well as
    the High Court have committed a grave error in convicting the
    respective accused for the offences punishable under Section 302
    of the IPC with the aid of Section 34, 114 and Section 120B of the
    IPC.
    7.1 It is vehemently submitted by the learned counsel appearing
    on behalf of the respective appellants that as such the High
    Court has not properly appreciated the fact that it was a case of
    circumstantial evidence, and therefore the prosecution is
    obligated to prove all those circumstances which leave no manner
    of doubt that all the circumstances are linked up with one
    another and the chain has not broken in between. It is
    submitted therefore that unless the chain of circumstances is
    complete leading to the only conclusion that it is the accused
    alone had committed the offence, the Court is not justified in
    convicting the accused.
    11
    7.2 It is further submitted on behalf of the respective appellants
    that both the Courts below have materially erred in holding that
    Accused No.3 and Accused No.1 entered into a conspiracy to
    murder the deceased Anandaraman.
    7.3 It is further submitted by the learned counsel for the
    respective appellants that even the prosecution has failed to
    prove the motive put forward by the prosecution. It is submitted
    that, according to the prosecution, marriage against the will of
    the Accused No.3 was the motive. It is however submitted by the
    learned counsel that Accused No.3 categorically stated in her 313
    statement and in the written statement that she was very much
    happy with the deceased and in fact there were no relationship
    continued with Accused No.1 after the marriage and/or even
    after 2004.
    7.4 It is further submitted by the learned counsel appearing for
    the respective appellants that the Courts below have materially
    erred in holding that Accused No.3 and Accused No.1 entered
    into a conspiracy to commit the murder of the deceased solely on
    the basis of the call details/calls from deceased phone to Accused
    No.1. It is further submitted by the learned counsel that even
    the prosecution has failed to prove that the love letters between
    12
    Accused No.3 and Accused No.1 were in existence even at the
    time of the incident. It is submitted that the evidence of PWs 22,
    23 and 35 even if at the face value do not prove that the love
    affair between the A3 and A1 was in existence.
    7.5 It is further submitted by the learned counsel that even the
    prosecution has failed to prove by leading cogent evidence that
    the itinerary – MO.6 which was alleged to be found from A1,
    which was alleged to be in the handwriting of A3 was in fact in
    the handwriting of A3.
    7.6 It is further submitted by the learned counsel appearing on
    behalf of Accused Nos. 1 & 2 that the prosecution has failed to
    prove by leading cogent evidence the presence of Accused Nos. 1
    & 2 at Guruvayoor. It is further submitted by the learned
    counsel appearing for A1 and A2 and even by the learned counsel
    appearing for A3 that the prosecution has failed to prove by
    leading cogent evidence that Accused Nos. 1 & 2 met Accused
    No.3 at Arunodhayam Tourist Home.
    7.7 It is further submitted by the learned counsel appearing on
    behalf of Accused No.1 that the courts below have materially
    erred in holding that the tour programme/itinerary of Accused
    No.3 and the deceased was recovered from Accused No.1.
    13
    7.8 Making the above submissions, it is prayed to allow the
    present appeals by setting aside the impugned common judgment
    and order passed by the High Court confirming the judgment and
    order of conviction and sentence passed by the learned Sessions
    Court and consequently acquit the accused for the offences for
    which they are held to be guilty.
  7. The present appeals are vehemently opposed by the learned
    counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent – State.
    8.1 It is vehemently submitted by the learned counsel appearing
    on behalf of the respondent­State that in the facts and
    circumstances of the present case and on appreciation of
    evidence on record, the Courts below have rightly held the
    accused guilty for having committed the murder of the deceased
    Anandaraman.
    8.2 It is vehemently submitted by the learned counsel that in
    the present case the prosecution has been successful in proving
    by leading cogent evidence that the Accused No.1 and Accused
    No.3 were in love and were having relationship which even
    continued after the marriage of A3. It is further submitted by the
    learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent­State that
    prosecution in the present case has been successful in proving
    14
    the conspiracy between the accused to commit the murder of the
    deceased.
    8.3 It is submitted by the learned counsel for the respondentState that in the present case the prosecution has been
    successful in establishing and proving the presence of A1 and A2
    at all the places where A3 and the deceased went and that from
    even Guruvayoor to Echo Point where the incident has taken
    place. It is submitted that the aforesaid is established and
    proved by the prosecution by examining the relevant witnesses,
    namely PW2 and PW4 and also by leading documentary evidence.
    8.4 It is further submitted that even the detailed itinerary/tour
    programme of A3 and the deceased, which was in the
    handwriting of A3 was recovered from A1 and it was established
    and proved that wherever A3 and the deceased went as per the
    tour programme, A1 and A2 also followed. It is further submitted
    by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the State that in
    the present case the prosecution has been successful in proving
    that all throughout A1 and A3 were in touch and having
    conversation on mobile phones.
    15
    8.5 It is further submitted by the learned counsel for the
    respondent­State that even there was a recovery from Accused
    Nos. 1 & 2 of the cash, gold chain, which was also looted.
    8.6 It is further submitted by the learned counsel that in the
    present case the prosecution has been successful in completing
    the chain of events leading to the conclusion that (1) accused
    hatched the conspiracy; (2) the relationship between A1 & A3; (3)
    that A1 & A2 followed A3 and the deceased and they were
    present at all the places where A3 and the deceased went/stayed;
    (4) that all through out A3 and A1 were in contact and were
    having conversation over mobile phones; and (5) that the recovery
    of MO6 – tour programme of A3 and the deceased, which was in
    the handwriting of A3 and which was recovered from A1. It is
    submitted by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
    State that all the above circumstances lead to irresistible
    concliusion of guilt against accused persons. It is submitted that
    the links in the chain of circumstances has been completely
    established by the prosecution. It is submitted that therefore
    neither the learned Sessions Court nor the High Court have
    committed an error in convicting the accused for the offences
    punishable under Section 302 with the aid of Sections, 34, 114,
    16
    120B and 379 of the IPC. Therefore, it is prayed to dismiss the
    present appeals.
  8. We have heard the learned counsel appearing on behalf of
    the respective parties at length.
    9.1 At the outset, it is required to be noted that in the present
    case, original Accused Nos. 1 & 2 are convicted for the offences
    punishable under Section 302 of the IPC with the aid of Section
    34 of the IPC, original Accused Nos. 1& 3 are convicted for the
    offences punishable under Section 302 of the IPC with the aid of
    Section 120B of the IPC and original Accused No.3 is also
    convicted for the offences punishable under Section 302 of the
    IPC read with Section 114 of the IPC. Original Accused Nos. 1 &
    2 are also convicted for the offences under Section 379 read with
    Section 34 of the IPC.
    9.2 That the learned Sessions Court on appreciation of evidence
    on record, both oral as well as documentary, held that the
    prosecution has been successful in establishing and proving that
    the accused entered into a conspiracy to commit the murder of
    the deceased. On appreciation of the evidence, the trial Court
    found and held that original Accused Nos. 1 & 2 right from the
    beginning followed Accused No.3 and the deceased and wherever
    17
    the Accused No.3 and deceased visited/stayed, the original
    Accused Nos. 1 & 2 followed them. The learned trial Court also
    found that all through out Accused Nos. 1 & 2 and Accused No.3
    were in contact and were having the conversation over mobile
    phones. Right from the very beginning from Guruvayoor to Echo
    Point where the incident had taken place the presence of Accused
    Nos. 1 & 2 has been established and proved. That the learned
    trial Court convicted the accused for the aforesaid offences and
    sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment and other
    sentences noted hereinabove and the same have been confirmed
    by the High Court by the impugned common judgment and order.
  9. It is mainly contended on behalf of the accused that as it is
    case of circumstantial evidence, the prosecution has to establish
    and prove and/or complete the chain of circumstances, which
    would lead to the only conclusion that it is the accused who
    committed the offence. It is also the case on behalf of the
    accused that the prosecution failed to establish and prove the
    motive, as according to Accused No.3 there was no relationship
    since long and at least at the time of marriage and/or post
    marriage. We are conscious of the fact that this is a case of
    circumstantial evidence and therefore the prosecution has to
    18
    establish and prove and complete the chain of circumstances
    which lead to the guilt of the accused.
  10. Having heard learned counsel for the respective parties and
    on appreciation of the evidence on record, we are satisfied that in
    the present case the prosecution has been successful in proving
    and/or completing the chain of circumstances which would lead
    to the only conclusion that Accused Nos. 1 to 3 entered into a
    conspiracy; that Accused Nos. 1 & 2 committed the murder of the
    deceased and Accused No.3 was a party to the conspiracy.
  11. From the judgment and order passed by the learned trial
    Court, it appears that the learned trial Court enumerated as
    many as 33 circumstances against the accused and the High
    Court considered as many as 28 relevant circumstances against
    the accused. The 33 circumstances enumerated and considered
    by the learned trial Court against the accused are stated in
    paragraph 58 and the 28 circumstances considered by the High
    Court while holding the accused guilty for the murder of the
    deceased are narrated in paragraph 18 of the impugned
    judgment and order. On considering the entire evidence on
    record, both oral as well as documentary, the prosecution has
    been successful in proving that Accused Nos. 1 & 2 followed
    19
    Accused No.3 and the deceased at Guruvayoor, Munnar and also
    at Echo Point. There was a recovery of detailed itinerary/tour
    programme of A3 and the deceased from A1 which was in the
    handwriting of A3. The prosecution has also been successful in
    proving that A1 and A2 met A3 at Arunodhayam Tourist Home
    where A3 and the deceased stayed (from the deposition of PW4).
    The prosecution has also established and proved that Accused
    Nos. 1 & 3 stayed at Munnar on 17.06.2006 by leading cogent
    evidence and examining PW5 – Abdul Rasheed, Manager of Arafa
    Tourist Home at Munnar, and also by leading the documentary
    evidence – P5, the tourist home register. The prosecution has also
    been successful in proving by leading cogent evidence that
    Accused Nos. 1 & 2 went to Echo Point where A3 and the
    deceased had gone and the place where the deceased was
    murdered. The aforesaid has been established and proved by the
    prosecution by examining PW2. Thus, the presence of Accused
    Nos. 1 & 2 was found right from the beginning at Guruvayoor,
    Munnar, Kundala Dam and Echo Point. This is required to be
    appreciated from the fact that there was a recovery of
    itinerary/tour programme of A3 and the deceased from A1 which
    was found to be in the handwriting of A3. It has also been
    20
    established and proved by leading cogent evidence by examining
    the BSNL personnel that there was a conversation on the mobile
    phones between A3 and A1 from the mobile of the deceased
    (which was used by A3) and the mobile of A1. Therefore, it has
    been established and proved that Accused Nos. 1 & 2 were
    following A3 and the deceased as per the instructions by A3
    and/or that all the accused were in contact with each other even
    at the time when the incident had taken place. All the aforesaid
    circumstances lead to irresistible conclusion of guilt against the
    accused persons. The aforesaid circumstances lead to the
    conclusion that the prosecution case can be taken to have been
    proved beyond all reasonable doubts. From the aforesaid
    circumstances proved, it can be said that the links in the chain of
    circumstances have been completely established. All the
    aforesaid circumstances leave no manner of doubt that all the
    circumstances are linked up with one another and the chain is
    not broken in between. Thus, the prosecution has been
    successful in completing the chain of circumstances leading to
    the only conclusion that all the accused entered into a conspiracy
    to commit the murder of the deceased and that in fact A1 and A2
    committed the murder of the deceased.
    21
  12. So far as the submission of the Accused No.1 and Accused
    No.3 that in the present case the prosecution has failed to prove
    the motive and to prove by leading cogent evidence that the
    relationship between A1 and A3 continued even after the
    marriage is concerned, it is required to be noted that as such
    Accused No.1 in fact denied having any love affair with Accused
    No.3. However, Accused No.3 herself in her written statement
    had admitted that they were in love earlier. But, according to
    Accused No.3, thereafter there was no relationship continued.
    Therefore, Accused No.1 came out with a false defence. Be that
    as it may, when the prosecution has been successful in proving
    the conspiracy between the accused as well as the accused
    committed the murder of the deceased, motive may not have that
    much relevance. We are more than satisfied that in the present
    case the prosecution has been successful in proving the case
    against the accused. We are in complete agreement with the view
    taken by the High Court as well as the learned trial Court. We
    see no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment and order
    passed by the High Court.
  13. In view of the aforesaid reasons, all the appeals fail and
    deserve to be dismissed and are accordingly dismissed.
    22
    ……………………………………J.
    [UDAY UMESH LALIT]
    NEW DELHI; ……………………………………J.
    FEBRUARY 15, 2019. [M.R. SHAH]