Nagpur bench of the Bombay HC acquitted the six convicts in the Yavatmal human sacrifice case. The judgment was passed by the bench consisting of PN Deshmukh and Justice MG Gibraltar.
Accused namely 1. Lalya Vasantrao Attam 2. Devidas Punaji Attam 3. Yadavrao Tukaram Tekam 4. Punaji Mahadev Atram 5. Motiram Mahadev Meshram 6. Yashodabai Pandurang Meshram
The six people, resident of Choramba village in Ghatanji tehsil were found guilty under the section 302 of IPC and were given death penalty and Durga Shirbhate was awarded five years of imprisonments for tampering and destructing the evidence.
In the month of October, a girl was killed in Yavatmal district. As per the prosecution side one amongst the six convicts namely Durga Shirbhate had claimed that she was possessed by a goddess and in that possession and guidance she performed the acts. According to her the goddess needed human blood of a child to save the entire village from wrath.
Hence a minor girl was taken to home of one of the accused where ceremony were performed and the head of the girl was chopped off for performing the rituals and her body was buried. Light was thrown on this incident when a complaint filed by the parents of that girl, that the girl was missing and this led to the recovery of the girl’s body parts.
After examining the evidence presented before the Court was of the opinion that nothing on the record was there to connect the accused with the Crime.
“Learned trial Court has relied on the Memorandum Statements and has come to the conclusion that there was conspiracy between accused Nos.1 to 8. Accused No.8 Durga told that human sacrifice is necessary for the benefit of their family and village.
Therefore, they made a plan and committed murder of Sapna by giving human sacrifice to the Goddess. It is pertinent to note that there is no evidence in respect of kidnapping of Sapna by any of the accused person” Court observed.
It was further noticed by the Court that the prosecution case was entirely built on circumstantial evidence and there was no complete chain of evidence to support the prosecution case and the fact that the parents did not support the prosecution case itself, also made it weight in the convicts favour and hence acquitted all the accused including Durga who did not even file an appeal against her conviction. Observing “In that view of the matter, though accused no.8 Durga has not preferred any appeal, on evaluating evidence, since we are satisfied and have reached to the conclusion that no conviction of any of the accused can be based, benefit of this decision is also necessary to be extended to said accused as she is also similarly situated co-accused, even though she has not challenged her conviction in appeal. In the circumstances, the Judgment of conviction against accused no.8 Durga is also liable to be o be quashed and set aside.”