The Madras High Court today acquitted the niece of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M G Ramachandran’s wife of the charges of killing his foster son- in-law. A bench of justices S Nagamuthu and N Sehasayee acquitted Banu, the niece of AIADMK founder MGR’s wife V N Janaki of killing MGR’s foster son-in-law Vijayan, citing lack of evidence. Holding that the alleged participation of Banu and another accused in the murder conspiracy was not proved beyond reasonable doubt, the bench acquitted two of the seven accused in the case. While Banu is the niece of MGR’s wife VN Janaki, the victim was her sister Sudha’s husband.
Giving its verdict on an appeal against a lower court order, which had found all the seven accused persons guilty, the division bench confirmed the life imprisonment awarded by the trial court to five others.
Rejecting the prosecution’s evidence of mobile call conversations between Banu and the second accused Karuna, the court said it was inadmissible for want of certificate under the Evidence Act. It was furnished in support of the evidence against Banu.
“There is absolutely no evidence that before the occurrence (killing of Vijayan), the two had conversation during which Banu instructed Karuna to kill Vijayan,” the court said, holding that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond doubt in so far as Banu was concerned.
As regards Karuna, the court held that the charges against him were proved beyond doubt and he was liable to be convicted for conspiracy and murder, the bench said.
Though the trial court had found five accused persons, including Karuna guilty of conspiracy as well as murder, it had not imposed punishment for conspiracy but had done so only for murder and it was contrary to the mandate of the IPC, the bench added.
The court said there was no evidence against the last accused M Karthick too to prove his complicity in the murder.
On July 13, 2016, Principal Sessions Judge G Jayachandran had pronounced all seven accused, including Banu, guilty of murder and had handed them life imprisonment to them.
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The lower court had said the prosecution had proved the charges of criminal conspiracy and murder against them beyond doubt.
According to the prosecution, the alleged motive behind the crime was Banu’s property dispute with her brother Raja.
She allegedly conspired to eliminate Vijayan since he sided with Raja and took the help of Karuna, a constable at that time, to execute the plan.
On June 4, 2008, Vijayan was hit by an iron pipe, which led to his instantaneous death.
Suresh, one of the accused persons along with other assailants had followed Vijayan in a car and a motorcycle in two groups and rammed the victim’s car from behind. When Vijayan got down to question it, he was attacked.