Sheep thief acquitted of charge of shepherd’s murder

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

NEW DELHI - A man was convicted by the Supreme Court for stealing 40 sheep in 2002 to repay his debts but acquitted him of the charge of murdering the shepherd on grounds of lack of evidence.

The accused was given the benefit of the doubt on the charge of murdering the shepherd in the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh.

The apex court bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra in their order Monday acquitted Suddapaly Srinu alias Bujji of the murder charge, saying the chain of the circumstantial evidence leading to the killing was not complete, and let him off with six years’ imprisonment already undergone by him.

Counsel Rajiv Kumar Bansal, who appeared for the petitioner, told the court that the circumstances highlighted by the prosecution did not present a complete chain of events to show that the murder was committed by Srinu.

Setting aside an Andhra Pradesh High Court order, the court said that on the facts of the case we are of the opinion that the appellant (Srinu) is entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Hence, we set aside his conviction (for murder) under section 302 IPC (Indian Penal Code).

As regards conviction under section 379 (for theft and imprisonment) for three years, the appellant has already undergone six years in the jail. Hence, the appellant shall be released if he is in jail. We allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the high court and trial court.

Srinu, according to prosecution, hacked Suddala Chinna Komuraiah to death with an axe June 6, 2002. Thereafter, he walked away with his 40 sheep.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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