2014 ALL MR (Cri) 4213
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY

P.V. HARDAS AND P.N. DESHMUKH, JJ.

Onkar Govind Badwe Vs. State of Maharashtra & Anr.

Criminal Appeal No.279 of 2006

14th October, 2013

Petitioner Counsel: Mr. DAULAT G. KHAMKAR
Respondent Counsel: Smt. U.V. KEJARIWAL

Penal Code (1860), S.302 - Murder - Evidence of last seen - Testimony of auto-rickshaw driver that he had taken the deceased alongwith accused to the house of accused - Dead body of deceased was found in decomposed condition in the same house - Door of said house was locked and required to be broken - When accused was arrested, he possessed key of his house - No explanation offered by accused as to how deceased died an unnatural death in his house - Apart from accused, none else was residing in house at the time of occurrence - Chain of circumstances, complete - Prosecution unerringly established that it was accused alone who had committed murder of deceased - Conviction proper. (Paras 13, 14, 15)

Cases Cited:
Ramreddy Rajesh Khanna Reddy and anr. Vs. State of A.P., 2006 ALL MR (Cri) 1533 (S.C.)=(2006) 3 SCC (Cri) 512 [Para 14]
Sahadevan and anr. Vs. State of Tamil Nadu, 2012 ALL SCR 1956=(2012) 3 SCC (Cri) 146 [Para 14]


JUDGMENT

P. V. HARDAS, J. :- Appellant, who stands convicted for an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs.10,000/-, in default of which to undergo further RI for six months, by the I-Adhoc Additional Sessions Judge, Pandharpur, by judgment dated 7/1/2006, in Sessions Case No. 60 of 2005, by this appeal questions the correctness of his conviction and sentence.

2. Facts in brief as are necessary for the decision of this appeal may briefly be stated thus:-

PW 10 - Police Head Constable Narute, who, on 25/4/2005, was attached to the Pandharpur City Police Station and was on duty, received a telephone from PW 20 - Mangal, informing that foul-smell was coming from the house of the appellant. PW 10 - Police Head Constable Narute informed the receipt of the message from PW 20 - Mangal to the PSO. The PSO of Pandharpur City Police Station directed PW 10 - Police Head Constable Narute to proceed to the scene of the incident and ascertain the facts. PW 10 - Police Head Constable Narute accordingly proceeded along with other police staff to the house of the appellant. PW 20 - Mangal pointed out the house of the appellant from which the foul-smell was coming. On reaching the house of the appellant, PW 10 - Police Head Constable Narute noticed that the main door of the house was locked. He, therefore, requested one Ibrahim Mujawar to enter the house and to inform whether a dead body was inside the house. Accordingly, Ibrahim Mujawar entered the house of the appellant and informed PW 10 - Police Head Constable Narute that there was a dead body inside the room. PW 10 - Police Head Constable Narute, therefore, broke open the lock in the presence of panchas and accordingly a panchanama at Exh. 33 was drawn. Upon breaking open the lock, PW 10 - Police Head Constable Narute entered inside the house and on reaching the room from where the smell was coming, he noticed a dead body in a decomposed condition. PW 20 - Mangal identified the dead body as that of deceased Nisha. In the said room, a grinding stone and a pestle, which were blood stained, were noticed. Mangal was instructed to come to the police station and lodged her report. Mangal accordingly lodged her report and on the basis of the report of Mangal, A.D. Case No. 32 of 2005 was registered.

PW 14 - Police Head Constable Bhosale, who was also attached to the Pandharpur City Police Station and was present in the police station recorded the report of PW 20 - Mangal at Exh. 45. On the basis of the report of PW 20 - Mangal, A.D. Case No. 32 of 2005 was registered and was thereafter entrusted to PW 13 - Police Head Constable Ohol for further enquiry.

PW 13 - Police Head Constable Ohol, who was also attached to the Pandharpur City Police Station was entrusted with the enquiry of A.D. Case No. 32 of 2005 on 25/4/2005. On entering the house of the appellant, PW 20 - Mangal identified the dead body as that of deceased Nisha and accordingly an inquest panchanama, in the presence of panchas, was drawn at Exh.21. The dead body was thereafter forwarded for postmortem examination.

On the next day, PW 14 - Police Head Constable Bhosale seized the clothes of deceased Nisha under seizure memo at Exh. 19.

PW 22 - PI Ashok Kinagi, who was attached to Pandharpur City Police Station and who was on duty on 26/4/2005, recorded the complaint / report of PW 17 - Renuka, mother of deceased Nisha at Exh. 50. On the basis of the report of PW 17 - Renuka at Exh. 50, an offence vide Crime No. 54 of 2005 under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC came to be registered. The investigation of the said crime was accordingly entrusted to PW 22 - PI Kinagi. He visited the scene of the incident and drew the scene of the incident panchanama in the presence of Panchas at Exh. 35. From the scene of the incident, he collected the sample of ordinary mud and blood stained mud and also seized broken pieces of bangle. The grinding stone, pestle, wooden plank, clothes and footwear etc. were seized from the scene of the incident. Statements of witnesses were recorded.

PW 21 - API Waghmode, who was also attached to Pandharpur City Police Station, was directed by PW 22 - PI Kinagi to trace the accused in the said crime. Accordingly, PW 21 - API Waghmode arrested the accused and submitted his report at Exh. 79. The accused came to be arrested under arrest panchanama at Exh. 37. From the possession of the accused, two keys in one key-chain were seized. The keys were of the lock, which was put on the main door of the house, where the dead body of deceased Nisha was found. The accused was referred for medical examination as bite injuries were seen on the accused. During custodial interrogation, the appellant expressed his willingness to point out the place where his clothes had been concealed. Accordingly, a memorandum was scribed in the presence of panchas at Exh. 91. The appellant led the police and the panch to his landed property at Anavali, from where the accused had been arrested, and from a cupboard, produced the clothes which were seized in the presence of panchas under panchanama at Exh. 92. The seized property was referred to the Chemical Anlayzer under requisition at Exh. 94. The seized property was sent through Police Constable PW 9 - Rajkumar. Further to the completion of the investigation, a charge-sheet against the appellant was submitted.

3. Postmortem on the dead body of deceased Nisha was carried out by PW 19 - Dr. Dhotre. PW 19 - Dr. Dhotre noticed the following external injuries:-

(i) Lacerated wound involving upper part of left side of face with compound comminuted fracture of left frontal bone, left parietal bone with fracture of mandible in mid-line.

(ii) Stellate depressed fracture of left temporal bone 6 cm. above the left ear pinna.

On internal examination, he noticed the following injury:-

Heamatoma at left fronto partial region.

In respect of brain, he noticed the injury dura party autolytic with haematoma and brain matter liquefied. He had noticed signs of decomposition of the body and had also found maggots formation. He, therefore, opined that cause of death of Nisha was due to shock due to fracture of skull bones. The postmortem report is at Exh. 64.

4. On committal of the case to the Court of Sessions, trial court vide Exh. 6 framed charge against the appellant for offence punishable under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC. The appellant denied his guilt and claimed to be tried. Prosecution, in support of its case, examined 22 witnesses. The defence of the appellant was of denial. Trial court, upon appreciation of the evidence of the prosecution, convicted and sentenced the appellant as afore-stated, while acquitting him for an offence punishable under Section 201 of the IPC.

5. In order to effectively deal with the submissions advanced before us by Mr. Khamkar, learned counsel for the appellant and the learned APP, it would be useful to refer to the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.

6. The entire prosecution case rests upon the evidence that deceased Nisha was last seen alive in the company of the appellant and the dead body of Nisha was found in the house of the appellant. The prosecution has also relied upon a strong circumstance i.e. the keys of the lock, which was placed on the main door of the house, where the dead body was found, were found in the possession of the appellant when he was arrested.

PW 3 - Pooja states that since 7 to 8 years prior to the incident, she was working as prostitute at Pandharpur. She states that deceased Nisha was also a prostitute. She states that Nisha had three daughters and one son, who were residing at Pune along with mother of Nisha. Pooja also states that Nisha had illicit relation with PW 4 - Pravin and, therefore, she knew PW 4 - Pravin. She states that the appellant also had illicit relation with deceased Nisha and used to come to visit Nisha often. She further states that about 2 to 3 days prior to the incident, PW 17 - Renuka, mother of deceased Nisha, had come to Pandharpur and had resided with Nisha at Pandharpur. On the day of the incident, Nisha had reached her mother at the S.T. Bus Stand for proceeding to Pune. After seeing-off her mother, Nisha again came to the area Dnyaneshwar Nagar, where the prostitutes were doing their business. At about 3.30 to 4.00 p.m. the appellant came at Dnyaneshwar Nagar in an auto-rickshaw and took Nisha along with him in the auto-rickshaw. Nisha thereafter did not return back to Dnyaneshwar Nagar. Pooja further states that after about 10 to 12 days, she learnt that Nisha had been killed.

In cross-examination, she has admitted that she was married in 1992 to Vitthal Pujari, who was resident of Satara. Pooja has admitted that she had never resided at Satara with Vitthal. She has admitted that she has two daughters, one of whom was residing with her, while the other one was residing with her parents. She has then admitted that the prostitutes were working in the area known as Dnyaneshwar Nagar. She was confronted with portion marked "A" from her statement wherein she has stated that after Nisha had left along with the appellant, it was expected that Nisha would return after about two hours. She has admitted that Nisha had not returned till evening and, therefore, PW 20 - Mangal and others were searching for Nisha. She has also admitted as true that the face of the dead body was totally crushed. She has also admitted that the dead body was decomposed. She has, however, volunteered that she had identified the dead body to be of Nisha. She has then admitted as correct that at the police station, the appellant had been shown to her and the police had informed her that his name was Onkar. She has denied the suggestion that the appellant had never come to Dnyaneshwar Nagar and did not have relations with deceased Nisha.

7. Prosecution has examined PW 4 - Pravin, an auto-rickshaw driver, who states that he was plying an auto-rickshaw and knew deceased Nisha. He admits that Nisha was working as a prostitute. He states that whenever Nisha went outside along with a customer, she used to hire the auto-rickshaw of PW 4 - Pravin. He states that on 14/4/2005 at about 12.30 to 12.45 p.m. he had met Nisha at the ST Bus Stand at Pandharpur. Nisha thereafter returned back to Dnyaneshwar Nagar and informed him that she would be again coming at the ST Bus Stand between 5 to 5.30 p.m. Nisha had also asked Pravin to thereafter reached her at her house. On that day, however, Nisha did not come to the ST Bus Stand between 5 to 5.30 p.m. On the next day, PW 20 - Mangal asked PW 4 - Pravin as to whether he had met Nisha the previous night. PW 4 - Pravin replied in the negative and asked PW 20 - Mangal as to where Nisha had gone. PW 20 - Mangal informed Pravin that on the previous day Nisha had gone out at about 3 to 3.30 p.m. Mangal, however, did not inform Pravin the person with whom Nisha had gone, but had only disclosed to him that Nisha had left in a rickshaw which had yellow coloured body. On 23/4/2005 PW 15 - Rahul informed Pravin that he had taken Nisha near the temple of Vithal. PW 15 - Rahul informed Pravin that he had reached Nisha on the road which proceeded towards Haridas Ves. Rahul had also informed him that he had given gutka packets and the remaining amount to Nisha by entering the house. Rahul had described the house where he had reached Nisha. PW 4 - Pravin accordingly informed PW 17 - Renuka and PW 20 - Mangal as to what was disclosed to him by PW 15 - Rahul. Pravin states that he along with Renuka, Mangal and one Latabai went to the house, which was described by PW 15 - Rahul. Pravin states that on enquiry, they learned that the house belonged to the appellant. A lock was put on the main door from outside. Thereafter, he along with Renuka, Latabai and Mangal went to the hospital. The brother of the appellant was admitted in the Government Hospital and he was informed that the appellant had taken Nisha but had not returned and a lock was placed on the main door. The brother of the appellant informed them to contact one Jitu Dombe and thereafter to open the house. PW 4 - Pravin accordingly contacted Jitu Dombe, but Jitu Dombe informed Pravin that he did not have the key of the lock. A foul-smell was coming from the house of the appellant and, therefore, PW 20 - Mangal telephoned the police and after the arrival of the police, the police broke open the lock and noticed the dead body of Nisha.

In cross-examination, PW 4 - Pravin has admitted that he was married about 2 ½ months and did not have illicit relations with Nisha. He has admitted that Nisha was residing as a tenant in the house of Latabai Chavan. He has admitted that he knew Nisha since 2001. He has denied the suggestion that Nisha was treating Pravin as husband and Pravin was treating Nisha as his wife. He was confronted with portion marked "A" in his statement wherein he had admitted that they were treating each other as husband and wife. He has denied the suggestion that Nisha used to disclose that PW 4 - Pravin was her husband. He was confronted with portion marked "B" in that regard. He was confronted with portion marked "C" of his statement that he had illicit relations with Nisha and from the illicit relations Nisha had given birth to two daughters and one son. He has denied the suggestion that sometimes he used to stay over-night in the house of Nisha and mother of Nisha was knowing about their illicit relationship. He was confronted with portion marked "D" from his statement.

He has admitted that when Nisha had come to the ST Bus Stand to reach her mother, Nisha had asked Pravin to come to Dnyaneshwar Nagar at about 5 to 5.30 p.m. Pravin has admitted that he had accordingly gone to Dnyaneshwar Nagar at about 5 to 5.30 p.m. He has admitted that he had not met Nisha there. He has admitted that he had not gone to the house of Nisha in order to trace her whereabouts. He states that on that day, after completing his duty, he had gone home at about 8 to 8.30 p.m. He has admitted that during that time he was unmarried. He has admitted that on the next day, he had met PW 20 - Mangal who had informed him that they were searching for Nisha. He admits that on 23/4/2005 he had met Magalbai, who had informed him that they were searching for Nisha and had visited Satara, Koregaon and Wai. He has admitted that opposite the house of the appellant, there is a grocery shop. He has admitted that when on the first day they had gone to the house of the appellant, he had noticed the foul-smell. He has also admitted as correct that he had informed the brother of the appellant that a foul-smell was noticed coming from the house of the appellant. He has admitted that along with Jitu Dombe, they had gone to the house of appellant and had noticed the smell and Jitu Dombe had advised them to inform the police and brake open the lock. He has also admitted as correct that Jitu Dombe had informed that he was not having key of the lock.

8. Prosecution has examined PW 15 - Rahul, who states that he was working as rickshaw driver and was driving a yellow coloured rickshaw. He states that on the day of the incident, which was 14/4/2005, he was present at the rickshaw stand and at about 3 p.m. one passenger hired his rickshaw for proceeding towards the temple. He states that he accordingly proceeded in the rickshaw with that passenger towards the temple. Meanwhile, he had noticed his friend Vilas who was walking towards the hospital of Dr. Shah and Rahul, therefore, asked Vilas as to where he was going and Vilas informed him that he was going towards the hospital. Rahul, therefore, informed his friend Vilas that after reaching the passenger, Rahul wold drop Vilas at the hospital. Accordingly, Vilas also sat in the auto-rickshaw. When Rahul reached near the temple, the passenger alighted and thereafter Rahul and Vilas were taking tea near the nearby canteen. He states that at that time one passenger came and informed him that he wanted to hire the rickshaw for going to ST Stand. Accordingly, Rahul took the passenger towards the ST Stand. Meanwhile, the passenger asked him to take the rickshaw towards Dnyaneshwar Nagar. At Dnyaneshwar Nagar the passenger alighted from the rickshaw and thereafter came along with deceased Nisha. Deceased Nisha and the passenger then proceeded his rickshaw and asked him to take rickshaw towards the temple. Rahul accordingly proceeded towards the temple along with the said passenger and Nisha. Rahul identified the said passenger as the appellant, who was present in the court. He further states that the appellant asked him to stop the rickshaw near the house of the appellant and then alighted from the rickshaw, along with deceased Nisha. Deceased Nisha gave him Rs.20/- and asked Rahul to bring four packets of gutka. Accused and deceased Nisha then entered the house of the appellant and the appellant himself opened the lock which had been put on the door of the house. Rahul accordingly purchased the four gutka packets and entered the house and gave those gutka packets to the appellant. At that time Nisha was present in the house along with the appellant. Rahul then returned back in the rickshaw.

9. After 4 to 5 days, he found that PW 4 - Pravin was slightly disturbed and enquired from Pravin as to what the matter was. PW 4 - Pravin informed him that Nisha was missing since last 4 to 5 days. PW 15 - Rahul accordingly informed Pravin that he had reached Nisha in the rickshaw to the house of the appellant. According to Rahul, he showed the house of the appellant to PW 4 - Pravin. He states that on 25th of the month, he learnt about death of deceased Nisha.

In cross-examination, he has admitted that he has a license for driving rickshaw. He has admitted that the auto-rickshaw was owned by one Sampat Sarje and he was driving the auto-rickshaw on contract. He has admitted as true that PW 4 - Pravin was having illicit relations with Nisha. He has also admitted as correct that deceased Nisha used to board the rickshaw of Pravin Mane. An admission is obtained in the cross-examination and PW 15 - Rahul has answered as correct that he had informed PW 4 - Pravin about the place where he had taken deceased Nisha along with one passenger. He has admitted that he had shown the house of the passenger also. He has admitted as correct that PW 4 - Pravin had made enquiries to find out as to who was the owner of the said house. He has also admitted as correct that PW 4 - Pravin learnt that the house belonged to the appellant. He has then admitted as correct that when he taken Pravin Mane to point out the house of the appellant, PW 17 - Renuka and Latabai had also accompanied them.

10. Prosecution has examined PW 17 - Renuka, mother of deceased Nisha, who states about Nisha working as a prostitute. Renuka also states that PW 4 - Pravin had illicit relations with Nisha. She also states that deceased Nisha had informed her about illicit relations with the appellant. She states that on 14/4/2005 she had left Pandharpur for going to Pune and Nisha had seen her off at the ST Bus Stand. On the next day, Renuka had telephoned Latabai, in whose house Nisa was residing. Latabai had informed Renuka that since the previous night, Nisha had not returned home. After about 2 to 3 days, Renuka again telephoned Latabai to enquire about Nisha. Renuka was informed that Nisha had not yet returned. PW 17 - Renuka, therefore, came to Pandharpur and met PW 20 - Mangalbai. Mangalbai had informed Renuka that Nisha had left with a customer. Renuka searched for deceased Nisha, but the whereabouts of Nisha were not known. Renuka states that since she was aware about the illicit relations of Nisha with the appellant, she had gone to the house of the appellant at Pandharpur, but had found the door locked. On the next day, she and Mangalbai had seen the appellant in Hanuman Nagar area. Mangalbai had given a call to the appellant, but the appellant went away in a rickshaw. Appellant ignored the call given by Mangalbai. Since the appellant had left in a hurried manner, Renuka suspected that Nisha was with the appellant and, therefore, went to the house of the appellant on the next day with Mangalbai. They had noticed some foul-smell coming from the house of the accused and, therefore, on the next day, had informed the police. She states that the police had broken open the lock and thereafter the dead body of deceased Nisha was noticed. She states that she had lodged the report at Exh. 50 against the appellant.

In cross-examination, she has admitted that deceased Nisha was residing as a tenant in the room of Latabai. She has admitted that name of PW 4 - Pravin was recorded as the father in respect of the birth of children of deceased Nisha. She has admitted that when PW 4 - Pravin had illicit relations with Nisha, Pravin was unmarried. She has admitted that about two months prior to the incident, she was knowing the place, where the appellant was residing. She has admitted that when she had come to Pandharpur, she had enquired with PW 4 - Pravin about the whereabouts of Nisha. She has admitted as correct that Pravin had informed her that he was also searching for Nisha. She has admitted that when the Muslim gentleman had entered the house, that time PW 4 - Pravin and others had gone to the hospital for bringing the key of the lock. She has admitted as correct that the police had broken open the lock and had entered the house.

11. Prosecution has also examined PW 20 - Mangal, who also states that on the day of the incident Nisha had left in the company of the appellant. She states that on that day in the evening PW 4 - Pravin came to her house and asked about the whereabouts of Nisha. Mangal states that she had informed Pravin that Nisha had gone along with the accused. She states that thereafter she had searched for Nisha, but no trace of Nisha could be found. She states that once she had seen the appellant proceeding from Hanuman Maidan towards rickshaw. She had given a call tot he appellant, but the appellant ignored her call and proceeded further. She then states about contacting the brother of the appellant and the brother of the appellant informing her to contact one Jitu Dombe. She states that Jitu Dombe had informed her that he did not have the keys. She states about informing the police and thereafter the police breaking open the lock and finding the dead body of deceased Nisha.

She has denied the suggestion that PW 4 - Pravin had shown the house of the appellant. She has also denied the suggestion that she learnt about the house of the appellant about three days prior to the breaking open of the lock of the house of the appellant. She has also denied the suggestion that Pravin had accompanied her when she had gone to the hospital.

12. Learned counsel for the appellant has urged before us that the house of the appellant, where the dead body of deceased Nisha was found, was a dilapidated house and the appellant was residing in the house, from where he was arrested. It is further urged before us that there is inter se variance in the testimony of PW 4 - Pravin and PW 20 - Mangal as well as PW 17 - Renuka. It is also urged before us that PW 15 - Rahul has deposed that when he had gone to show the house of the appellant to Pravin, PW 17 - Renuka and Latabai had accompanied him. PW 17 - Renuka does not state about accompanying Rahul to the house of the appellant. It is, therefore, urged before us that no reliance can be placed on the testimony of these witnesses. Learned APP has supported the findings arrived at by the trial court.

13. PW 15 - Rahul in his examination-in-chief has maintained that PW 4 - Pravin had alone accompanied him when he had gone to show the house of the appellant. In cross-examination, it is suggested to him that Renuka and Latabai had also accompanied him. It is equally true that PW 17 - Renuka does not state about accompanying Rahul when he had shown the house of the appellant to PW 4 - Pravin. There are inter se variations in the testimony of PW 4 - Pravin and PW 20 - Mangal. However, according to us, the variations are not on such a material aspect of the prosecution case as would entail the rejection of the testimony of these witnesses. Even if the evidence of the PW 20 - Mangal, PW 17 - Renuka and PW 4 - Pravin is left out of consideration, the evidence of PW 15 - Rahul establishes that deceased Nisha had accompanied the appellant to his house. In fact, Rahul states that the appellant and Nisha had entered the house of the appellant and Nisha had given him money for fetching gutka packets. He states about entering the house and giving gutka packets to Nisha. Thus, the fact that Nisha was in the house of the appellant, in the company of the appellant, has been established. Deceased Nisha had died an unnatural and homicidal death. The appellant was with Nisha. The appellant has not offered any explanation as to how Nisha had died. The appellant had, in fact, fled and when he was arrested, the keys of the lock on the main door were found in the possession of the appellant. This would clearly establish that the appellant had put the lock on the outer door. The appellant was seen prior to the discovery of the dead body by PW 20 - Mangal and PW 17 - Renuka, but the appellant had not stopped to answer their question about the whereabouts of Nisha. According to us, the chain of circumstances is so complete that it exclude every hypothesis of the innocence of the accused. We do not find any evidence on record to suggest that apart from the appellant anyone else had committed murder of deceased Nisha. The circumstances so proved by the prosecution, therefore, according to us, unerringly establish that it was the appellant and the appellant alone who had committed the murder of deceased Nisha.

14. Learned counsel for the appellant has placed reliance on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Ramreddy Rajesh Khanna Reddy and anr. vs. State of A.P. [(2006) 3 SCC (Cri) 512] : [2006 ALL MR (Cri) 1533 (S.C.)]. Reliance is placed on this judgment by the learned counsel for the appellant to urge before us that the last seen theory would come into play where the time-gap between the point of time when the accused and the deceased were last seen alive and the deceased was found dead is so small that possibility of any person other than the accused being the author of the crime becomes impossible. Learned counsel for the appellant has further placed reliance on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Sahadevan and anr. vs. State of Tamil Nadu [(2012) 3 SCC (Cri) 146] : [2012 ALL SCR 1956] to urge before us also that the time gap between the deceased being last seen alive and the discovery of the dead body should be small in order to make effective the theory of last seen.

In the present case, the appellant and deceased Nisha were seen entering the house of the appellant. The house of the appellant was thereafter found locked. The dead body of deceased Nisha was discovered in the house of the appellant. In these circumstances, therefore, according to us, the prosecution has certainly established the relevancy of the deceased being last seen alive in the company of the appellant and the discovery of the dead body of deceased in the house of the appellant. We further find that apart from the appellant, none else was residing in the house at the relevant time. The keys of the lock were found in the possession of the appellant, which would be a strong pointer that it was the appellant who had put the lock on the main door. The dead body of deceased was found inside the house which was locked from outside. In our opinion, therefore, the appellant has been rightly convicted by the trial court and the appeal filed by him deserves to be dismissed.

15. Accordingly, Criminal Appeal No. 279 of 2006 is dismissed, confirming the conviction and sentence of the appellant.

Appeal dismissed.