The High Court of Bombay at Goa today upheld the verdict given by Special Court in Margao acquitting all the accused in the 2009 Margao Bomb blast case. HC pronounced its verdict with reference to appeal filed by National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging the acquittal of the accused in the matter.
In their order passed today, Justice M. S. JAWALKAR, and Justice M. S. SONAK said that they were not satisfied that the prosecution has discharged the initial burden which the law casts upon it.
“Based upon the fact that the explosion with IED did take place on 16th October, 2009 at the spot hardly 400 metres away from the venue of the Narkasur effigy competition and the fact that the prosecution has proved first three circumstances, the observations made by the learned Special Judge doubting the veracity of FIR or suggesting any malafides in the launch of the prosecution or suggesting that certain Sanstha was undoubtedly roped in, cannot be sustained and are required to be set aside as being contrary to the weight of evidence on record,” it said.
The court said that such observations or remarks cannot, according to us, be regarded as legitimate inferences which could be drawn from the evidence on record.
“There was no warrant for such observations or remarks. Accordingly, we do not sustain or approve such observations. The circumstance that we quite agree with the other findings or inferences recorded by the learned Special Court may therefore not be taken as approval or endorsement to the observations relating to any doubt on the veracity of FIR or any malafides launching or directing the investigation in this matter,” it said.
Further, the court said, having said this, “we quite agree with the learned Special Court that the prosecution in this case has failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt, the circumstances listed at numbers 4 to 12 in paragraph 75 of the impugned judgment and order. This is admittedly a 34 CRIA8-14 case not based on the direct evidence. This was a case based on the circumstantial evidence as pointed out at the very outset by Mr. Faldessai, learned Additional Public Prosecutor and Assistant Solicitor General of India.”
It said that at the highest, some sort of suspicion can be said to have been raised particularly since the prosecution has succeeded in proving that the incident of 16th October, 2009 did take place and the prosecution has also succeeded in proving some of the circumstances concerning the same.
“The proved circumstances however are not at all sufficient to convict the accused persons. Suspicion, howsoever grave, can never take place of proof which is required in such matters. Even the proved circumstances in the present case, are certainly not sufficient to disturb the acquittal recorded by the learned Special Court in this matter. Applying the principles in Sampat Babso Kale (supra), Sanjay Thakran (supra) and Chandrappa (supra), we will not be justified in reversing the acquittal recorded by the learned Special 36 CRIA8-14 Judge, merely because we may not have agreed with certain remarks or observations made by the learned Special Judge particularly on the aspect of any lack of bonafides on the part of the prosecution in the present matter,” it says.
It says for all the aforesaid reasons, though we set aside the remarks and observations in the impugned judgment and order on the doubts expressed about veracity of the FIR and remarks and observations about the lack of bonafides in the launching of this prosecution or direction of the investigations, we sustain the acquittals recorded in the impugned judgment and order.
“This appeal, to the extent it seeks reversal of the acquittal recorded by the learned Special Court, is therefore hereby dismissed. In the facts of the present case and having regard to our findings, there is no case made out for award of any costs in favour of the Respondents. However, pending this appeal, if any of the Respondents have executed any bail bonds, the same are hereby ordered to be discharged,” it said.