New Delhi, Mar 1: The Supreme Court has said that strong evidence is required to corroborate extra-judicial confession, which is a weak piece of evidence, as it acquitted a man in a 2007 murder case.
A bench of Justices B. R. Gavai and Vikram Nath said: "The extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence and especially when it has been retracted during the trial. It requires strong evidence to corroborate it and also it must be established that it was completely voluntary and truthful."
The apex court made this observation while hearing a plea filed by murder accused Indrajit Das challenging the order of the Tripura High Court. The bench said: "We do not find any corroborating evidence to support the extra-judicial confession, rather the evidence led by prosecution is inconsistent with the same."
It observed that in a case of circumstantial evidence, motive has an important role to play. Motive may also have a role to play even in a case of direct evidence but it carries much greater importance in a case of circumstantial evidence than a case of direct evidence and it is an important link in the chain of circumstances, it added.
The high court had declined to entertain an appeal filed by Das, while confirming the conviction by the trial court under Section 302/34 (murder and common intention) of the IPC and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of IPC. Das was handed down imprisonment for life and allied sentences to run concurrently.
The police have claimed that Das, along with a juvenile, confessed before them that they had gone to Fatikroy and Kanchanbari area in north Tripura district on the bike of the deceased Kaushik Sarkar.
According to the police, the accused assaulted the deceased with a big knife and threw his helmet, purse, and two knives in the nearby jungle and dragged the body and the motorcycle to a nearby river and threw them into it.
The bench noted that the dead body has not been recovered and only a limb was recovered but no DNA testing was carried out to establish that the limb was that of the deceased Sarkar. "As such, the entire case of the prosecution proceeds on presumption that Kaushik Sarkar has died. The principle of corpus delicti has judgments on both sides stating that conviction can be recorded in the absence of the recovery of the corpus and the other view that no conviction could be recorded in the absence of recovery of the corpus," it said.
In conclusion, the bench said: "We find that the major links of the chain of circumstances have not been proved by the prosecution evidence and as such it would be unjust to uphold the conviction of the appellant. The appellant would be entitled to benefit of doubt."