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HC upholds cop's life sentence for murder, acquits partner

·2-min read

Mumbai, Feb 26 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Friday upheld the conviction of a senior police officer (now retired) for the murder of his partner's son in 2013 but acquitted the woman after noting there was no evidence against her.

A division bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and N R Borkar was hearing appeals filed by former Deputy Superintendent of Police Shivaji Narawane and his partner Nanda Zodge challenging the trial court's 2019 judgment sentencing them to life imprisonment for the murder of Zodge's son Rohan.

The court upheld Narawane's conviction noting there was evidence to show he was the perpetrator of the crime, but set aside Zodge's conviction and acquitted her on the ground that there was no evidence to show her involvement in the case.

Zodge's advocate Aniket Nikam argued the prosecution evidence was not sufficient to establish a conspiracy between both the accused to eliminate Rohan.

Nikam told court that witness statements and mobile location of Zodge showed she was not at home when the incident took place.

The court, in its order, said evidence adduced by the prosecution shows Narawane and Zodge were not at the same place on the night of the killing.

'Men may lie, however, circumstances speak for themselves and leaves its mark behind and the same is true in the present case,' the court said.

Narawane, at the time of the incident in October 2013, was Deputy Superintendent of Police and got acquainted with Zodge as she used to visit the suburban Tilak Nagar police station to file complaints against her son Rohan.

According to the prosecution, Rohan was an alcoholic with criminal antecedents and used to trouble his mother Nanda Zodge, who was a homeopathic doctor.

On October 25, 2013 Rohan was found dead outside his house in Tilak Nagar. Narawane was found near the body and was arrested along with Zodge after investigation.

The bench, in its order noted, that the victim had a quarrel with Zodge at their residence the previous night and Narawane was present there at the time.

'It is also proved that Zodge and her daughter Neha left the house after the fight after which Narawane was at home with Rohan who was found dead in the morning. By logical deduction, it can be safely held Narawane is the perpetrator of the crime,' the court said.

'We are pained to observe that a high-ranking police officer, instead of taking action against notorious Rohan in accordance with law, thought it fit to eliminate him by causing his homicidal death and, thereafter, attempted to cause disappearance of evidence,' the court said in its order.

It added that Narawane does not deserve to be shown any leniency. PTI SP BNM BNM