ANI Photo | Delhi HC sets aside life imprisonment awarded to former MLA for murder

The Delhi High Court on Monday set aside the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment awarded to Satender Solanki, giving him benefit of doubt.
Solanki, a former MLA from Barnava, had challenged the 2019 judgment of a trial court in a case related to the murder of one Inder Pal Dhaka on June 24, 1997.
The division bench comprising justices Mukta Gupta and Poonam A Bamba set aside the judgment and directed the jail authorities to release Satender Solanki. The bench allowed the appeal in view of discrepancies in the statement of the complainant.
“The prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, conviction of the appellant for the offences punishable under Sections302/307IPC, cannot be sustained. The impugned judgment of conviction and order on sentence is accordingly set aside,” the bench said in the judgment on June 26.
The high courtt said the complainant was a chance witness. The prosecution failed to place on record any evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the presence of the complainant at the spot at the time of the incident.
“Rather, the best evidence in this regard of injured/eye-witness and res gestae evidence of Tarun Kumar, who scribed the complaint soon after the incident and even the medical record of Suri Nursing Home and the doctor who examined the deceased, which could have proved the presence of complainant at the time of incident, was not produced/examined,” the bench said in the judgment.
The court said as per the post-mortem report, there were 17 gunshot injuries of entry and exit wounds, on the body of the deceased, which would have resulted in profuse bleeding. Whereas complaint in his cross-examination stated that not much blood was oozing out of his brother”s (deceased) body at that time.
“It is unbelievable that a person who was shot at indiscriminately and had suffered as many as 17 injuries, not much blood oozed out from his wounds,” the court noted.
The bench further said, ” It would also not be out of place to mention here that the fact that the deceased was involved in many cases of murder etc. of different police stations: and that the State Government had announced a reward of Rs. 50,000 on the deceased for getting him arrested.
Further, the complainant himself submitted that his brother, the deceased, had contested assembly election as an independent candidate against Madan Bhaiya, the court noted.
Even Investigation Officer (IO) deposed that during investigation, he had recorded in his diary about enmity of the deceased with Madan Bhaiya and Sushil Moonch. Thus, argument of the learned counsel for the complainant/ Prosecutor that it was the appellant, who (alone) had harboured enmity against the deceased to commit the crime, does not lie, the bench remarked.
Delhi’s Patiala House court on 29.04.2019 had convicted Satender Solanki and his brother Harender Solanki for the offences 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) IPC. An FIR was registered at police station Civil Lines, Meerut, UP.
The trial court had passed an order on sentence dated 07.05.2019, sentencing him to imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs. 25,000.
The case of prosecution is that on 24.06.1997, one Inder Pal Dhaka along with Ashok Kumar was travelling in a car bearing from his residence to University. Dhaka was shot dead in a discriminatory firing by the appellant and other accused persons.
Satender Solanki/the appellant and his brother Billu, sons of Krishan Singh, a resident of Jiwana Guliyan in Meerut district, came on a scooter and both of them started firing on Inderpal Dhaka, due to which he received many bullet injuries. Ashok Kumar also received a bullet injury on his hip.
The complainant, Amarpal Singh Dhaka, with the help of the persons gathered at the spot, took both the injured namely Ashok Kumar and his brother Inderpal Singh to Suri Nursing Home, where the doctors declared Inderpal Dhaka as brought dead. Thereafter, the injured, Ashok Kumar, was got admitted to Medical College, Meerut, where he was treated and discharged on 30.06.1997.
A case was registered on the written complaint by Amarpal Singh Dhaka, elder brother of the deceased.
It was argued by the Senior advocate KK Manan, counsel for the appellant Solanki, that prosecution has failed to prove the motive for the assailants/appellant to kill the deceased. The appellant had no enmity either with the deceased Inder Pal Singh Dhaka or with the injured Ashok Kumar; he has been a victim of political rivalry.
It was argued by the prosecution that the Investigating Officer deliberately and intentionally left the loopholes in the investigation to help the appellant. They did not record the statement of the injured/eye-witness.
Further, in a case of murder, where the victim died of gunshot wounds, the IO failed to seek a ballistic examination report. Not only this, no official photographer was called to photograph the spot and the car, in which the murder took place, the prosecution submitted.
Further, instead of providing protection to the injured/witness, IO chose rather not to examine the crucial witness, the prosecution said

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