HC upholds life sentence in murder case on 'last seen' theory

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 30, 2012 10:21 hrs

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has upheld the life sentence awarded to a married couple for murdering a woman eleven years back, based on the 'last seen' theory.

The accused - Mohammad Iqbal Ansari and Deepa Ansari - have been convicted of murdering their roommate Shobha Bhoudi.

According to prosecution, the torso of Shobha's body was recovered on October 13, 2001 from a water tank in suburban Andheri.

The couple had allegedly stabbed the victim to death and then chopped off her head and limbs, prosecution said.

Two days later, the two accused were arrested and Mohammad Iqbal identified the place where other body parts of the victim were dumped by them.

In 2003, a lower court had convicted the duo and sentenced them to life imprisonment, but the accused challenged it and approached the High Court.

Observing that the prosecution has managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the case against the two accused, a division bench of Justices S P Davare and A S Oka upheld the conviction and sentence last week.

"It is true that it is not established that the other body parts were allegedly recovered at the instance of the first appellant (Iqbal) and that the body parts were of the deceased. But considering the evidence of last seen together and the proximity of time and place of finding of torso of the deceased, the chain of circumstances leads to the only hypothesis of guilt of the accused," the court observed.

Stating that the prosecution has proved beyond doubt that the deceased was residing in the premises occupied by the accused till October 12, 2001, the High Court said, "There is evidence of last seen together against the accused. They were last seen together with the victim."

The bench further observed that in less than 24 hours from the time the accused persons and victim were last seen together, Shobha's body was recovered from a place not far away from the premises of the duo.

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