Absconding, by itself, hardly any evidence of guilt: Bombay High Court

The wife of an inspector of Mumbai Police, Deepali was found allegedly murdered in the family’s Vakola home on May 23, 2017. Three days later, Siddhant was arrested from Rajasthan. Siddhant was missing since Deepali’s body was discovered by his father.

The Bombay High Court has recently held that if a person is found to be on the run after committing a crime, it will not be counted as “conclusive evidence” to prove his/her guilt, as even an innocent person may run away when suspected of grave crimes.

Justice A S Gadkari made the observation after granting bail to 21-year-old Siddhant Ganore, who was lodged in jail for two years for allegedly murdering his mother Deepali Ganore in 2017. The bail was granted on April 3.

The wife of an inspector of Mumbai Police, Deepali was found allegedly murdered in the family’s Vakola home on May 23, 2017. Three days later, Siddhant was arrested from Rajasthan. Siddhant was missing since Deepali’s body was discovered by his father, Inspector Dyaneshwar Ganore, on the day of the alleged murder.

Senior Counsel Ashok Mundargi, appearing for Siddhant, argued that there is no legally admissible evidence available on record against him. Also, there is no eye­witness to the crime. Mundargi said except the circumstances — mother and son were last seen together and blood found on Siddhant’s trousers matched with Deepali’s blood group — no other circumstances have been put forth by the prosecution.

Based on three circumstances, the prosecution, however, opposed the bail application. They are: Siddhant being last seen together with his mother, absconding for three days after the alleged murder and bloodstains on his trouser matching Deepali’s blood group.

On Siddhant going missing soon after the alleged murder, Justice Gadkari said it is the settled position of law that the “absconding may lend weight to the other evidence establishing the guilt of an accused, but by itself, (this) is hardly any evidence of guilt”.

The court added, “The conduct of an accused making himself scare for some period is relevant under Section 8 of the Evidence Act and may be indicative to some extent of a guilty mind, but it would not be conclusive evidence of his guilt. Even innocent person may, when suspected of grave crimes, attempt to evade arrest.

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