The Supreme Court saved a death row convict from the gallows on Friday. The court acquitted him of charges of killing his wife and five daughters in Durg district of Chhattisgarh in 2012, saying there was no admissible evidence to prove his involvement in the case.
A three-judge bench by a majority set aside the orders of the rial court and Chhattisgarh HC which had convicted him in the gruesome murder case and had awarded him death penalty. While Justices said there was only circumstantial evidence against the accused and the chain of evidence to justify conviction of Dhal Singh Dewangan was not complete.
However, Justice P C Pant dissented with the findings of his brother judges and held that there was no room for reasonable doubt that he had killed his wife and daughters.
According to the prosecution, the crime took place in 2012 when the accused was sleeping with his wife and daughters. His mother was also in the house at the time and it was she who found the six bodies lying in a pool of blood.
She found her son lying unconscious beside the bodies and his clothes stained with blood. She came out of the house crying that his son had killed his wife and daughters and alerted the villagers who went to police station to lodge FIR.
After going through all the evidence, the majority of three-judge bench held that the accused couldn't be convicted on the basis of statements attributed to his mother by other witnesses as hearsay was not admissible as evidence. It said police failed to put on record why the accused was unconscious at the time of crime and whether he was lying.