The Bombay High Court has suspended the sentence of a Bhayander man convicted of murdering two brothers after a disagreement over a cricket match in Mira Road. In February, the Thane Sessions Court sentenced Deepak Dhende (21), along with four others — Sujit Raut (28), Suresh Adhikari (32), Kamlesh Adhikari (30) and Himmat Bisht (25) — to life imprisonment. According to the prosecution, in 2004, the five men, along with a sixth who died during the trial, assaulted and murdered brothers Ramesh Singh and Kamal Singh.
Although the star witness, rickshaw driver Avdesh Singh, claimed that Dhende had been at the crime scene, the High Court noted that the accused had a good alibi. In his statement, Singh said he’d seen Dhende between 12 am and 12.30 am on the night of the incident. However, the police station diary showed that at 12.10 am, Dhende was lodging a non-cognisable complaint (NC) against the men he supposedly had a hand in killing. Arguing the case before the division bench of justices PV Hardas and AR Joshi, senior advocate Shirish Gupte said, “There is no mention of this alibi in the judgment of the learned trial judge. He has just been convicted.” Advocate Nitin Sejpal also appeared on Dhende’s behalf.
The HC in its order noted, “It appears that the trial court has not addressed itself to the plea of alibi set up by the applicant... we are unable to reappreciate the evidence and express any finding relating to the plea of alibi... the said document however, clearly refers to the presence of the applicant in the police station at the point of time when the offence is allegedto have been committed by him… the document would certainly indicate the absence of cogent material against the applicant in respect of [his] involvement in the said offence.”