Sikand murder case: court acquits retired army official (Lead)

May 15th, 2009 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) Delhi High Court Friday acquitted retired army officer S.J. Choudhary, sentenced to life imprisonment last year in the 27-year-old parcel bomb killing of city-based businessman Krishan Sikand, due to lack of evidence.
The court set aside the ruling of the trial court which last year had held Choudhary guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment for killing Sikand, who was close to the army officer’s estranged wife.

A bench comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Aruna Suresh said there was weak evidence against Choudhary in the case, warranting his acquittal.

“To conclude, only admissible evidence which remains against him is that of motive… but motive being presumptive evidence is a weak evidence and by itself, cannot form a chain of circumstances,” the bench said in a 114-page judgement.

“It is unfortunate that a crime is going unpunished, but we cannot hang any person for the crime unless our judicial conscience is satisfied that the evidence on record conclusively establishes the guilt of the person charged for the offence and brought before us,” it added.

The court did not rely on the testimony of a typewriter expert and owner of a typewriter school, ruling the evidence was not credible at all.

It directed that 71-year-old Choudhary be set free unless required in any other case.

Sikand, 40, had died when a parcel bomb, delivered at his Sunder Nagar residence here on Oct 2, 1982, exploded. The CBI, in its charge-sheet, had accused Choudhary of the crime as Sikand, a divorcee, was seeing the officer’s wife, despite earlier being threatened to stay away from her.

Choudhary’s wife, who was living separately, had become friendly with Sikand and even moved into his house, the CBI had said.

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