Bombay High Court Ramesh Arjan Thadani-vs-The State Of Maharashtra on 14 March, 1995
Equivalent citations:II (1996) DMC 234
Author: V Sahai
Bench: V Sahai
Vishnu Sahai, J.
1. I have heard Mr. Adhik Shirodkar for the applicant and Mr. D.A. Nalawade, APP for the State of Maharashtra at some length.
2. This is an application for bail on behalf of the applicant Ramesh Arjan Thadani who has been charge-sheeted for offences punishable under Sections 498A and 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The deceased in the instant case is one Dr. (Mrs.) Sunita, admittedly the own wife of the applicant.
3. The case of the prosecution runs as follows :
On 25th February, 1993 the applicant and the deceased were married. In the marriage the parents of the deceased spent something to the tune of Rs. 2,30,000/- to Rs. 2,50,000/-. The couple had their honeymoon in Shalimar Hotel, Bombay, and for the same payment was made by the parents of the deceased. The applicant wanted a new kitchen cabinet and the mother of the deceased paid Rs. 18,000/- for the same. For the purchase of a car, the applicant took about Rs. 5,000/- from her. The applicant had threatened the deceased that in case she could not arrange for Rs. 1,400/- in order to make payment for an electrical bill, she would not be allowed to slay in the house. On 4th May, 1994, the applicant demanded Rs. 10,000/- for the payment of Municipal Taxes and Rs. 2,500/- for the payment of Wealth Tax, from the deceased. The applicant had also asked the deceased to get Rs. 38,000/- from her parents so that the necessary repairs of the house could be carried on. According to the prosecution, the applicant had an insatiable lust for money and a never ending set of demands. The applicant used to threaten the deceased that he would not allow her to enter the house and would commit suicide, if his demands were not satisfied. It was this insatiable greed and lust for money of the applicant and his never ending demands which were incapable of fulfilment by the mother of the deceased which led to the murder of the deceased. On the question of demands, the statements of some witnesses, including Mr. Rani Baldev Shroff, the mother of the deceased, have been recorded by the Investigating Agency. It is the common case of the parties that the applicant is employed in Reliance Industries at its Head Office at Maker Chamber-IV, 5th Floor, Nariman Point, Bombay-400 021. According to the prosecution on 5th May, 1994 at about 10.10 a.m. when witness Satish P. Sheth, the Superior Officer of the applicant, came in the office he found him working. The applicant is alleged to have told him that for about half an hour he would like to go home. Thereafter, the applicant is said to have left for his home situated in Patel Towers at Worli. At about 11.15 a.m. the applicant reached the aforesaid building and asked the watchman Suryakant S. Tendulkar, who knew him and the deceased from before the incident, as to whether Madam was at home. Tendulkar is alleged to have replied in the affirmative. Thereafter, Tendulkar dropped him by the lift on the 8th floor of the building where his flat was located. At that time he found the flat to be closed. Immediately, without ringing the bell outside the flat, he took out a key from his pocket and opened the door of his flat with it. Tendulkar saw the applicant closing the door of the flat. Thereafter, Tendulkar came down on the ground floor. After sometime, he heard that in a desparate tone somebody was calling him, twice or thrice, by name saying “Tendulkar come up. Tendulkar come up.” Tendulkar is alleged to have identified the voice as that of the applicant and consequently by the lift went to the 8th floor where the flat of the applicant was located. At that time, he found the applicant standing at the door of his flat. He told Tendulkar that the throat of his wife had been cut and she was lying in the kitchen. Tendulkar immediately went inside the kitchen and saw Dr. Sunita (the deceased) who was still alive, lying on the ground, with a major visible bleeding injury in the region of her throat. He body was jerking and her heart was throbbing a little. At that time the applicant asked Tendulkar to get a taxi. It is said that Tendulkar went and reported the matter to his mukadam Akrambhai and also to the liftman Mohite. Mohite took the lift to the 8th floor of the building where the flat of the applicant was located. Thereafter the applicant alongwith his injured wife Sunita came down by lift. Hasmukhbhai, Jalilbhai and Mohite helped him in bringing out Sunita from the lift. In the meantime a taxi came. On it the applicant and Hashmukhbhai took Sunita to Nair Hospital. On reaching Nair Hospital, Sunita was found to be dead by the doctor.
4. On 6th May, 1994, at about 1.00 a.m., the applicant is alleged to have been arrested. Some injuries were found in his neck region and consequently he was medically examined at 11.00 a.m. the same day at Police Hospital, Nagpada. On the person of the applicant, the doctor found seven abrasions which were distributed between the face and neck region. In the opinion of the doctor the aforesaid abrasions were caused 24 hours ago and were attributable to nail marks, caused during scuffle.
5. The post-mortem examination of the dead body of Sunita was conducted on 5th May, 1994 between 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. by a panel of three doctors viz. Dr. G.V. Uppe, Dr. A.J. Pujari and Dr. S.M. Patil. On the dead body as many as 21 injuries were found by the autopsy surgeons. Most of these injuries were contusions and abrasions. The doctors also found two cut injuries viz. ante- mortem injuries Nos. 11 and 17. The fatal injury appears to be injury No. 11 which was a cut injury on the front of the neck situated above supra sternal notch and below chin measuring 10.3 cm. x 7.0 cm. As a result of that injury the entire structure in the area like trachea, oesophagus, muscles of neck, etc. were cut. The opinion of the doctors was that the deceased died on account of the aforesaid ante- mortem cut injury to her throat.
6. There is no dispute between the Counsel for the parties that there is no eye-witness in the instant case. The case solely hinges on circumstantial evidence. The incriminating circumstances adduced by the prosecution against the applicant are :
(a) motive (detailed in paragraph No. 3);
(b) the suspicious conduct of the applicant of returning to his flat at about 11.15 a.m. on 5th May, 1994 and thereafter asking Tendulkar as to whether Madam was at home; then boarding the lift, opening door of his flat, entering the same and closing it;
(c) After about 15 minutes of the applicant entering his flat, his cries to the effect that “Tendulkar come up; Tendulkar come up”. On those cries Tendulkar reaching the 8th floor of the building, where the flat of the applicant was located and the applicant telling him that the throat of his wife was cut and she was lying in the kitchen; and thereafter Tendulkar going inside the kitchen and finding the throat of the deceased cut, her body jerking and heart throbbing;
(d) 7 abrasion marks on the neck of the applicant suggesting that a scuffle took place between the applicant and the deceased when he was trying to murder her; and
(e) extra-judicial confession made by the applicant to Mrs. Rani Baldev, mother of the deceased to the effect that for whatever has happened he was responsible.
In addition to these circumstances is the circumstance that no plausible explanation has been furnished by the applicant as to how he received injuries.
7. Mr. Adhik Shirodkar, learned Counsel for the applicant strenuously contended before me that in cases resting on circumstantial evidence not only each circumstance has to be established but it has also to be established that cumulatively the circumstances established unerringly point to the inference of guilt and are wholly incompatible with the inference of innocence. There can be no quarrel with regard to the legal position spelt out by Mr. Shirodkar. But in my opinion these norms have to be kept in mind by the Court when it adjudicates upon the question of the guilt of the accused after trial and not at the stage when it considers the question as to whether bail should be granted in a given case.
8. As I see it, while considering the question of grant of bail what the Court has to consider is as to whether the prosecution has succeeded in making out a printa facie case against the accused. Coupled with that of course is that nature of the crime, the manner in which it has been committed, the relationship of the accused with the victim, the possibility of the accused absconding and of his tampering with witnesses. At the stage of bail the Court does not threadbare analyse the evidence furnished by the prosecution; that exercise is only done after the witnesses have been examined in the Trial Court.
9. I refrain from examining the various submissions regarding infirmities in circumstantial evidence, canvassed by Mr. Shirodkar, for two reasons :
Firstly, attractive as they are, they can only be adjudicated upon after the evidence in the Trial Court has been led. Secondly, any observation by me on those submissions is likely to prejudice the parties during trial.
10. After giving my anxious consideration to the matter, I find that at this stage there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant has committed the offence in question and that printa facie case is made out against him. The allegations against the applicant appear to be of an extremely serious nature and there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to warrant his detention in jail.
11. Mr. Shirodkar also submitted that the applicant is a respectable person; that he is aged about thirty-three years and is in the prime of his life. He also contended that he was earning a monthly salary of about Rs. 13,000/- and was employed with the Reliance Industries, there was no possibility of his absconding. He also canvassed that no apprehension has been voiced by the prosecution that in case the applicant is released on bail he would tamper with prosecution witnesses. Considering all these circumstances, the contention of Mr. Shirodkar is that, it would be inequitable, far harsh and oppressive to deny bail to the applicant specially when his guilt is still to be adjudicated upon. I regret that I cannot persuade myself to accept Mr. Shirodkar’s contention. In the matter of consideration of bail, the status of a person, his salary the place and nature of his employment are wholly immaterial. The law is the same for everyone. It makes no distinction between the low and high, rich and poor. The circumstance that there is no possibility of the applicant absconding or of his tampering with prosecution witnesses by itself would not entitle him to bail. Grant or refusal of bail in a given case depends upon a variety of circumstances, some of which have been spelt out by me above and the weight of those circumstances at this stage, is certainly against the applicant.
12. After the most careful circumspection I am of the opinion that in the instant case the applicant does not deserve to be released on bail and this application for bail is accordingly rejected.
13. After I had rejected the applicant’s prayer for bail, Mr. Shirodkar submitted that his trial may be expedited. Considering the overall circumstances, this request appears to be reasonable. I am informed by the Counsel for the parties that the case has already been committed to the Court of Sessions, Greater Bombay. The learned Principal Judge, Sessions Court, Greater Bombay, shall ensure that the trial of the applicant is decided expeditiously. At copy of this order shall be forthwith sent to the learned Principal Judge, Sessions Court, Greater Bombay.
14. I have refrained from making any observations on the merits of the matter. Inspite of that I make it clear that the learned Trial Judge would be wholly uninfluenced by this order when it decides the trial of the applicant.