Four persons accused of abetting suicide of a businessman were acquitted by a local court which gave them benefit of doubt as prosecution failed to follow proper procedure for proving the authenticity of his purported suicide note.
According to prosecution, the deceased, Dnyaneshwar Pawar, and one of the accused – Nivrutti Ranwade – were business partners in Nageshwar Transport firm.
Nivrutti was allegedly not contributing any finances for the company and Dnyaneshwar had to pay the outstanding amount and he had also invested Rs 8 lakhs in the business. It was also alleged that the accused was showing more expenses and grabbing the amount.
On December 2, 2008, the four accused – Nivrutti, and Vasant Jundhare, Raju Sonhne and Subash Kadam (managers at the firm’s Pune office) – went to Pawar’s office and asked for final settlement of the account, to which he agreed.
They allegedly took him out of the office forcibly and snatched some money, and later asked him to sign on a stamp paper for resigning from the firm.
After the incident, the victim came home and informed his family about it. Later that night, he allegedly took his own life by hanging himself in the store room of his house, the prosecution said, adding that the accused abetted his suicide and committed an offence under IPC section 306.
A suicide note purportedly written by Pawar was found lying near a washing machine in the house.
The victim’s family members were examined in the case wherein they narrated the episode and said that the victim was tortured by his partner and humiliated, and hence he had no option but to end his life.
However, defence counsel Ramrao S Jagtap stated that the dispute in the business and whether the suicide note was written by the deceased has not been proved. It has also not been proved that the accused abetted his suicide, and hence they be given benefit of doubt.
Thane Additional Sessions Judge V V Bambarde observed
that it has come in the evidence of the witnesses that Dnyaneshwar wrote a chit, and put it near the washing machine. The contents of the note are about loss in the business because of the accused partner.
The judge observed that the note also narrates about the meeting. The accused spoke about expelling him from the company and to grab possession of the company, so he repented and committed suicide.
The judge, however, noted that there was no proper seal on articles seized, and there was always a possibility of tampering. Also, the suicide note was not sealed on the spot.
Handwriting expert was not examined nor a person acquainted with the handwriting of the deceased. There is no evidence that this chit was written by Dnyaneshwar only. Hence, the handwriting of the deceased is not established, the court observed.
“If we see the facts of the case on the above ratios, we see that there was a meeting between the two partners and other accused were present. They spoke about expelling the deceased. They asked him to quit the office. But whether they were intending that Dnyaneshwar shall commit suicide is not seen,” Judge Bambarde said.
It does not seem that the compulsion was so grave that Dnyaneshwar was not left with any option but to commit suicide, the judge observed.
It has come in the evidence that the accused Ranwade owed Rs 7,75,000 to Dnyaneshwar. Dnyaneshwar was not expelled from the partnership. There was no act on the part of the accused to make Dnyaneshwar quit the office. Settlement of account is a right of partner. The resignation was not written down, the court said.
“So, no mens rea is seen on the part of accused to humiliate Dnyaneshwar to the extent of losing his life. Hence, I have no option but to give benefit of doubt to the accused, the judge said while recently acquitting the four accused.
( Source – PTI )