Pocso case: Life sentence to woman, father-in-law quashed

A division bench of Justice PN Prakash and AA Nakkiran passed the direction on allowing the appeal petitions separately filed by convicts Pazhani Gounder and G Muthulakshmi challenging the trial court’s order dated August 10, 2018.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court

The Madras High Court quashed a life-term conviction order passed by Krishnagiri Fastrack Mahila Court against a 63-year-old man and his daughter-in-law on charges of raping and killing a girl child. The duo is the grandfather and stepmother of the deceased girl.

A division bench of Justice PN Prakash and AA Nakkiran passed the direction on allowing the appeal petitions separately filed by convicts Pazhani Gounder and G Muthulakshmi challenging the trial court’s order dated August 10, 2018.

The judges acquitted the convicts observing that the evidence on record is insufficient to sustain a conviction and sentence in this case. “The State Government should pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh to Gopalakrishnan, father of the deceased girl under the victim compensation scheme,” the judge ruled.

The bench ordered the release of Pazhani, who is detained in Vellore central prison. Since Muthulakshmi is out on bail, the judge discharged the bail bonds executed by her.

A minor girl was found dead on February 4, 2015, in Krishnagiri district. The victim was born to Gopalakrishnan, a lorry driver, and Deepa. After Deepa died, Gopalakrishnan married Muthulakshmi. He went to Gujarat leaving behind his daughter with Muthulakshmi on the day the incident happened. The child had been missing since the evening of February 4, 2015. At around 9.30 pm, villagers found her dead body in a well at Pazhani’s house.

Police claim that Pazhani and Muthulakshmi were arrested based on an extra-judicial confession given by Muthulakshmi to the VAO on February 5, 2015, by 3 pm.

“Muthulakshmi’s statement revealed that she had been having an affair with her father-in-law. The victim found out about it. Hence, Pazhani raped and killed her,” the police submitted. However, when the judges enquired the witnesses, most turned hostile. One of the witnesses submitted that after the body was found, the police had taken Pazhani and Muthulakshmi into their custody by 10 am on February 5, 2015.

“When once they had gone into the custody of the police at 10 am, the case of the prosecution that Muthulakshmi alone went to Jayanthi, Village Administrative Officer, and gave an extra-judicial confession on February 5, 2015, at 3 pm defies credulity,” the bench noted.

The court also observed that the autopsy report of the girl also did not reveal that it was a case of rape and murder.

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
DT next
www.dtnext.in