NEWS STATES TAMIL NADU
Ex-DMK MLA’s conviction set aside
Mohamed Imranullah S.
CHENNAI 01 AUGUST 2020 00:25 IST
UPDATED: 01 AUGUST 2020 00:25 IST
‘Legal requirements cannot be ignored even in sensational case’
Observing that legal requirements cannot be given a go-by in a criminal case merely because it had become sensational, the Madras High Court on Friday set aside the conviction and 10 years of rigorous imprisonment imposed by a trial court on former DMK MLA M. Rajkumar for the alleged rape and culpable homicide of a 15-year-old girl.
Justice N. Sathish Kumar said: “Courts cannot record a finding merely based on imaginary possibilities in the evidence of the prosecution. Imaginary possibilities cannot take the place of acceptable legal evidence to prove the charges in a criminal case. Mere sympathetic consideration or suspicion can also never be a substitute for legal evidence.”
The judge held that the police had neither proved the charge of criminal conspiracy nor rape or even that of culpable homicide against the appellant. He said that the prosecution had also miserably failed to prove the charge of conspiracy and cheating against the co-accused K. Jaishankar, and set aside his conviction too from both the charges.
He pointed out that the parents of the victim had given very clear evidence before the trial court that they had brought their daughter voluntarily from their native in Kerala and left the child in the custody of the former MLA at Perambalur in Tamil Nadu on June 22, 2012 to serve as a domestic help and also get educated simultaneously. However, on June 28, 2012 the girl suffered from breathlessness and was treated in three different private hospitals before she died at the Government Medical College Hospital on August 5, 2012. Following this, her relatives created a commotion at the hospital, forcing the Perambalur police to register a case.
Simultaneously, at the instance of some political functionaries in Kerala, the police in that State, too, registered a separate case.
Though none of the doctors and paramedical staff of the three private hospitals found any evidence of sexual assault on the child despite a gynaecologist, in one of those hospitals, having done even a vaginal swab test, a government doctor, who conducted the post-mortem in Theni, opined that the death could have been due to vaginal injuries. On the contrary, when the body was subjected to re-postmortem by doctors in Kerala, they opined that the victim appeared to have died due to pneumonia. However, after the CB-CID took over the case from the Perambalur police, the FIR booked in Kerala was transferred here.
Finally, the police filed a chargesheet against the former MLA. The trial was transferred from a Mahila Court in Perambalur to a Special Court for hearing cases against MPs and MLAs in Chennai in 2018.
During the course of trial, one of the accused died and the Special Court on December 28, 2018 acquitted four others. The former MLA and the other appellant Jaishankar alone were convicted leading to the present appeals. Justice Kumar allowed both the appeals after agreeing with senior counsel AR.L. Sundaresan that the prosecution had failed to establish the charges.