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The Bombay High Court has upheld the life sentence imposed on a resident of Sangli in a double murder case, after accepting the testimony of an eye witness.

Hearing an appeal filed by Janardhan Mali against his conviction, Mr Justice PD Kode and Mr Justice VK Tahilramani upheld his life sentence, saying that evidence adduced in the trial court corroborated with the version given by the eye witness.

“On going through the record, we find that there is sufficient evidence on record to show that the appellant had assaulted Sangita and Indubai with sword and caused their death. Thus, we find no merit in the appeal and hence it is dismissed,” according to the judges in their order last week.

The victims, Sangita Mane and her sister-in-law Indubai, were slain by Janardhan Mali on 20 July, 2007, when they had gone to a field with goats for grazing in Ghavali Shivar area at Upale Wangi in Sangli district.

Janardhan arrived at that place with a sword and struck a blow at Indubai who shouted and fell down. He then took on Sangita and hit her hard on the head. She too fell down asking “Why are you killing me, what harm have I done to you?”

Hearing this, Janardhan blurted out “In order to break relationship with me, you accused me of theft. There is no use in keeping you alive.” After committing the crime, he ran away.

The double murders were witnessed by Pandurang, who had also come there to graze his cattle and saw Janardhan hitting the duo with his sword.

The victims were taken to a hospital where they were declared dead.

The court observed that the blood on the sword was of ‘B’ group and this matched with the blood found on the clothes of both the deceased. “This shows that blood of the group of the deceased was found on the sword recovered at the instance of the appellant,” according to the judges.

The shirt of the appellant was also found stained with blood of ‘B’ group. He could not explain to the court how his shirt was soaked in blood of ‘B’ group.

The judges noted that the evidence suggested that the murders were committed by Janardhan and as such they confirmed the lower court order of 28 April, 2008, convicting the accused under section 302 IPC for the offence of murder.

“We are of the opinion that the appellant had caused death of Indubai and Sangita by causing them multiple injuries with sword,” the judges noted.

The conviction is mainly based on the evidence of Pandurang, the sole eye witness to the incident. Besides, the prosecution also relied upon the sword recovered at the instance of the appellant.

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