The Margao district and sessions court, on Wednesday acquitted Rajesh Dessai, brother of former BJP minister RamaraoDessai, and BaleshDessai and VinayDessai from Xelvona, Quepem, in the sensational 2007 murder of SameerMapari.
Passing the order, additional sessions judge Desmond D'Costa said, "I find that though in the present case there appears to be a strong suspicion against the accused persons involvement in the present crime, the law is that suspicion cannot take the place of proof and there cannot be a mere moral conviction on grave suspicion."
Sameer's mother wept in open court after the judgment was pronounced and later attempted to assault Rajesh in the court premises. Addressing media persons, she said she had lost her son and had not received justice.
D'Costa said, "In the present case I find that the prosecution has failed to establish the chain of circumstances which are complete and consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the three accused. The prosecution has failed to prove the guilt of each of the three accused persons, in respect of the offenses for which they have been charged, beyond reasonable doubt."
Rajesh, Balesh and Vinay have been acquitted of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, murder and destruction of evidence. Under section 437 A, CrPC, 1973, all three accused were asked to furnish bail bonds of Rs 20,000 each with one surety and undertaking to appear before the high court, as and when the high court issues notice in respect of any appeal that may be filed against this judgment. Once the jail bonds are furnished, the jailor at sub jail Sada, Vasco da Gama has been ordered to free the accused.
Public prosecutor Sarojini Sardinha examined 100 witnesses in the case and later stated that the matter will now be referred to the superintendent of police (South) proposing that an appeal be filed before the higher court.
The prosecution's case was that the accused allegedly hatched a conspiracy and on July 31, 2007, intoxicated Sameer by mixing Calmpose tablets in beer. Thereafter, Sameer was tied to an iron channel with a copper wire. They then wrapped the body with a cloth and tied a marble piece to the chest all this in the farmhouse belonging to Rajesh at Soliem, Cacora. Later, the body was thrown into the Zuari river at Soliem hoping that the body would sink in the water.
After the order was passed, Sardinha said no stone was left unturned to produce evidence. She admitted that this is a black day for the Mapari family. "My sincere sympathies are with the family of the deceased specially his father and mother and also all the villagers of Xelvona who felt and stood by the grief and mourning of the family until date," Sardinha said.
* Rajesh, Balesh and Vinay feared that Sameer, who was employed as Balesh's driver, knew their secrets
* The trio allegedly hatched a conspiracy and on July 31, 2007, intoxicated Sameer by mixing Calmpose tablets in beer
* Sameer was then tied to an iron channel with a copper wire, the body wrapped with a cloth and a marble piece tied to the chest
* All this was done in the farmhouse belonging to Rajesh at Soliem, Cacora
* Later, the body was thrown into the Zuari river at Soliem
Only 4 points proved
The prosecution relied on 16 circumstances to make their case, but could prove only four-that Sameer Mapari was employed by Rajesh Dessai and Balesh Dessai on July 31, 2007; that he was missing from that night onwards; that a body was found floating in the river at Shiroda and that the death was a homicide. The prosecution was unable to prove the other circumstances of the case.
Genetic profiling not possible
The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CSFL), Hyderabad, observed that it was not possible to compare the genetic profile of the body with that of Rama Ganesh Mapari and Seeta Madhuri, the father and mother of the Sameer so as to establish the body's identity. Police had sent a blood stained gauze piece and tooth of the deceased along with blood samples of Rama and Seeta to detect whether the body, later identified as that of Sameer Mapari, was the biological son of Rama and Seeta. The Laboratory report observed that since no profile could be generated for the blood stained gauze and the tooth, the genetic profile comparison of the body with that of Rama and Seeta was not possible. [TOI]