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A division bench comprising Justices S Nagamuthu and Anita Sumanth acquitted the accused recently maintaining that the prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The court also found fault with the FIRs registered by the police in the case, which did not carry continuous serial numbers though they were registered on the same day.
The case relates to murder of three three persons in Mallapuram of Dharmapuri district in January 24, 1998.
According to prosecution when the three were proceeding to police station in connection with a complaint lodged against them, the accused along with others came in car with revolver and sickles and killed them.
Police had framed charges against 32 persons in connection with the murder. Three persons died during the pendency of the case while another was discharged.
A sessions court in Dharmapuri had on April 29, 2016 acquitted 13 persons in the case while it awarded life imprisonment to 15, against which they moved the High Court.
The bench while turning to the facts of the case in its order said no weapon, either revolver or country made gun, was recovered from the possession of the accused. According to eye witnesses, the victims were shot in the chest. But there were no entry in the charge sheet regarding wounds found on the chest of the deceased.
It was stated that wounds were found only on the back. This contradiction has not been explained by the prosecution.
There were lot of contradictions between medical evidence, other evidence and statements of witnesses also, the bench said.
"Though in this case three persons have been killed in a cruel manner, we are unable to convict any of the accused on account of the above inherent weakness and contradictions. Thus we hold that the prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubts and therefore all the accused are entitled for acquittal", the bench said.
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