Ranchi, Oct. 4: Jharkhand High Court today acquitted 25 people accused of murdering seven persons in Latehar in 1988. A division bench of Justices D.N. Patel and Prashant Kumar released Raghuvir Prasad, Umakant Singh and others who were convicted for murder and were in custody since 2005.
The incident took place at Jalim village in Latehar on May 23, 1988 when two groups clashed over an eve-teasing episode. The clash left villagers Ram Vilas, Mohar Sao, Shiv Prasad Sao, Arjun Sao, Bijul Sao, Bhola Sao and Sanjay Sao dead.
The police registered an FIR against 37 for the crime committed in broad daylight. During the lengthy trial, 12 accused died and the rest were convicted by Latehar district and sessions judge R.B. Gupta in 2005 when Prasad and the others were taken into custody.
The high court observed that the prosecution had not been able to examine the doctor and investigating officer, which was crucial for establishing the crime. The accused cannot be assumed to have been the aggressors in absence of evidence and ought to be acquitted, the bench said.