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Indian Case Summary

Shankar vs State Of T.N on 4 April, 1994 – Case Summary

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In the case of Shankar vs State of T.N on 4 April, 1994, the Supreme Court of India was presented with a complex and gruesome case involving a series of murders committed by a gang led by Shankar, also known as Gauri Shankar. The case was heard by Justice K. Jayachandra Reddy and Justice G.N. Ray.

Facts of the Case

Shankar, the leader of the gang, was originally an auto driver who transitioned into illicit arrack business and later into running a brothel. He was known to be a ruthless individual who would not hesitate to eliminate anyone who interfered with his criminal activities. The prosecution alleged that six individuals, Lalita, Sudalai, Ravi, Sampath, Mohan, and Govindaraj, had incurred Shankar’s wrath and were subsequently murdered by him and his associates. Their bodies were either buried or made to disappear.

Issues and Court Observations

The prosecution’s case was primarily built on the evidence provided by Babu, the approver in the case, and corroborating evidence, as well as retracted judicial confessions made by Shankar and Eldin, another accused. The prosecution presented a detailed account of Shankar’s criminal activities, his relationships with the deceased, and the circumstances leading to their murders.

The court noted that the attack on three of the deceased individuals, Sampath, Mohan, and Govindaraj, brought the whole case to light and led to further investigation into the deaths of Lalita, Sudalai, and Ravi. The prosecution sought to prove its case against the accused both by the evidence of the approver along with corroborating evidence, as well as the retracted judicial confessions of Shankar and Eldin and the necessary corroborating evidence to the same.

Ruling

The trial court found the accused guilty under Section 120-B read with Sections 302, 201, 147, 302/34, and 404 IPC. For the murder charges, the trial court sentenced Shankar, Eldin, and Shivaji to death and the remaining accused to imprisonment for life under each count and various other terms of imprisonment for other minor offenses. The High Court acquitted two of the accused of all charges and confirmed the convictions and sentences of the appellants. The High Court, however, acquitted them of the conspiracy charge punishable under Section 120-B read with Section 302 IPC. Both the courts have concurrently held that this is one of the rarest of rare cases where the sentence of death alone will meet the ends of justice.

The case of Shankar vs State of T.N is a stark reminder of the heinous crimes that can be committed by individuals involved in illicit activities and the lengths to which they can go to protect their interests. It also highlights the importance of corroborative evidence and judicial confessions in securing convictions in such complex cases.