Man on death row freed

In a rarest of the rare judgment, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday acquitted an accused sentenced to death by a lower court.

A division bench co-mprising Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice P. Durga Prasad allowed an appeal by Ediga Manjunath alias Manju of Anantapur district acquitting the accused of all charges against him, including murder.

The first Additional Sessions Judge, Anantapur, had conferred death sentence on the appellant on May 15, 2012 for the murder of four persons.

According to the prosecution, the accused killed four people — Nagamuni, Subba Lakshmi, Kondamma and a child Srinath of Podaralla village of Ananthpur district — on March 11, 2011 by pouring petrol on them while they were asleep. The prosecution alleged that the accused was in an illegitimate relationship with Subba Lakshmi, a widow, and had taken the extreme step on suspicion that she was attracted to another person.

The bench acquitted the accused of all charges after the prosecution failed to prove the offences against the accused. The bench found that the lower court had erred in sentencing the accused to death based on the evidence wh-ich had several lacunae.

The bench directed the lower court to release the convict.

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