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Bombay HC upholds conviction, a life sentence of the auto-rickshaw driver for killing traffic cop

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The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction and life sentence imposed on an auto-rickshaw driver for murdering a traffic police constable in November 2010 after the latter issued him a ‘challan’ for a road rules violation.

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and S V Kotwal in its judgement on Tuesday said it was satisfied that there was strong evidence against the accused and statements of the eye-witnesses were consistent with the victim’s dying declaration.

The bench dismissed the appeal filed by the convict – Mahendra Kumar Kewat – challenging the trial court’s order of October 2012, convicting him on murder charges and sentencing him to life imprisonment.

Kewat was found guilty of killing traffic police constable Anil Aitewadekar, who had issued him a challan for a traffic rules violation and for not having the requisite vehicle documents.

The high court in its judgement relied on the victim’s dying declaration, wherein he said that on the day of the incident, he had asked the accused of his license and other documents. When the accused revealed that he did not have the relevant documents, the deceased seized his license and gave him a ‘challan’.

The accused then left, but returned after some time. He poured petrol on the victim, threw a shirt doused in petrol on him and then set him on fire.

The victim was rushed to a hospital, but he died after three days.

“The dying declaration is consistent with the version of the eye-witnesses and it is sufficiently proved. There is hardly any infirmity in this dying declaration,” the court said.

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