The Delhi High Court recently upheld the conviction and life sentence of a man, who had shot Delhi University student Radhika Tanwar dead on women’s day 2011 for rejecting his advances
A bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Anish Dayal opined,
“This Court finds that the guilt of the appellant for the murder of the deceased has been proved beyond reasonable doubt and duly supported by circumstantial evidence by the prosecution. Consequently, this Court finds no error in the impugned judgment of conviction and order on sentence by the learned Trial Court,” the Court maintained in its 26-page judgment.
The bench dismissed the appeal filed by Saini, who had challenged the order passed by a sessions court in October 2017 convicting him for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant provisions of the Arms Act.
As per the prosecution case, Tanwar was shot dead by Saini at Dhaula Kuan footover bridge just outside Ram Lal Anand College in broad daylight. It was alleged that Saini lived in the same locality as the girl and used to stalk her. He was also beaten by the locals for following Tanwar a few months earlier.
The bench based its judgement on the testimonies of two witnesses,
“Even though there were no direct eye witnesses at the point of shooting the deceased, the evidence of the two witnesses, was consistent, wherein, both had heard a sound of a fire shot and both had seen the girl on the ramp of the flyover and while one had seen a boy standing next to her with something hidden under his shirt other had seen a boy running away with pistol in his hand,” the bench noted.
Both witnesses identified the appellant in front of the police and then in the Court. Being independent and not interested witnesses, they had no reason to falsely implicate the appellant, the bench observed.
The Court further relied on the statements of witnesses from the victim’s village, who stated that the appellant had visited her village 2-3 years prior to the incident. These men stated that they had intervened and beaten the appellant since the deceased had pointed out that he was stalking her and teasing her.
The Court also noted the conduct of the appellant after the incident, wherein he first visited the house of one of the co-accused, disposed of the weapon – a country made pistol, in his friend’s room. Then he fled to Mumbai the next day and his friends too left for their native places in Uttar Pradesh.
The police had picked Saini from Mumbai’s Vikhroli area on March 11, 2011 and had brought him to Delhi via Kingfisher Airlines.
The bench believed the chain of circumstances against the appellant to be proved by the prosecution beyond any reasonable doubt and thus upheld his conviction.
A bench of the High Court led by Justice Siddharth Mridul had refused to let Saini out on bail earlier in April this year, while also stating that there should be zero tolerance for anybody who intimidates a girl, woman or child and that society should ensure that women do not have to fear when they step out of their homes.
Case: Vijay Saini vs State