Patna High Court Upholds Kidnapping Convictions, Citing Credibility of Victim’s Testimony


LI Network

Published on: October 5, 2023 at 10:30 IST

The Patna High Court, while upholding the convictions of five individuals for kidnapping under Sections 364 and 365 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), has ruled that even though there were certain deficiencies in the investigation, the prosecution’s case should not be dismissed if the victim’s evidence is deemed credible.

A division bench consisting of Justices Alok Kumar Pandey and Ashutosh Kumar made the following observation:

“The contention of the learned APP is quite tenable in the light of the fact that the statement of the victim remained intact throughout the trial. On the other hand, the contention of the appellants regarding motive and the lapses on the part of the Investigating Officer (I.O.) are not tenable in the light of the eyewitness account. The investigation appears to have been conducted in a faulty manner. But solely due to the unprofessionalism of the I.O., the prosecution’s case cannot be thrown out.”

The court emphasized that in this case, the victim’s statement was compelling and reliable, and it remained consistent throughout the cross-examination, which was corroborated by the I.O.

The prosecution’s case centered on the disappearance of Chetan Shankar Rajhans in 2012, who was allegedly forcibly taken away in a vehicle by the appellants Dablu Mandal, Bablu Mandal, Deepak Mandal, and Girija Yadav. The informant also alleged that these appellants had previously committed the murder of a relative of the informant.

The key question before the bench was whether the conviction of the appellants under Section 364, 365, read with Section 34 of the IPC, was justified or not?

The court noted that during the sessions trial, instead of Binod Kumar Jha (I.O.), one Ram Kishore Sharma (I.O.) was examined.

After carefully reviewing the evidence and witness testimonies, the court found the victim’s statement to be consistent and reliable, remaining unchanged throughout the trial.

The court corroborated the victim’s account, supported by the I.O.’s testimony, and identified all the appellants. Despite the absence of a ransom demand and no mistreatment of the victim, the court upheld the convictions under Sections 364 and 365 with the aid of Section 34 of the IPC.

However, the court noted that appellant Arbind Yadav was not present during the initial abduction but was connected to the incident when the victim identified him at the police station. Therefore, his conviction under Section 364 of the IPC was set aside, while his conviction under Section 365/34 was upheld.

In its verdict, the court reduced the sentences of Deepak Mandal, Dablu Mandal, Bablu Mandal, and Girija Yadav to the period already served.

The court ordered their immediate release from jail, provided they are not required in any other case, subject to the payment and realization of fines imposed upon them.

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