Mumbai: Mere presence at crime scene not enough to conclude Padalkar killed friend, says court

Mumbai: Mere presence at crime scene not enough to conclude Padalkar killed friend, says court


In its detailed order granting bail to 19-year-old Diya Padalkar in the New Year Eve party murder case, a sessions court has said that her mere presence at the place of crime cannot be sufficient to conclude that she killed her childhood friend.

Padalkar was granted bail on Friday by the court, over six months since she was arrested for the alleged murder of her friend Jhanvi Kukreja (19).

The same day, the court rejected the bail plea of co-accused Shree Jogdhankar (22), common friend of Padalkar and Kukreja. The court has said that as per probe, Jogdhankar is “aggressive in nature” and “hot tempered”. It held that police apprehension that he may tamper with evidence or influence witnesses if released on bail appears to be “reasonable and proper”.

In its detailed order made available on Wednesday, the court said: “Mere presence of the applicant (Padalkar) on the place of the incident so also not explaining injury caused to her lips as alleged is not a sufficient circumstance…to conclude she has committed that alleged offence.”

The police have alleged that Kukreja and the two accused attended a party organised by their friends on the terrace of a building in Khar on December 31, 2020. She was reportedly upset over Jogdhankar making advances towards Padalkar, leading to a scuffle between the three. She was later found dead on the staircase of the building.

The prosecution, opposing the bail applications, has said that while Padalkar suffered an injury on her lip, Jogdhankar had a back injury, which would have been caused due to the violent assault. Jogdhankar had claimed he was assaulted by unknown assailants. The court has said that there was no material to show that someone had entered the building and assaulted him.

The prosecution has claimed that there was forensic evidence against both accused – Kukreja’s bloodstains were found on the bedsheet on which Padalkar lay down after the incident as well as on Jogdhankar’s shirt. The court took the forensic report into consideration while rejecting bail to Jogdhankar. While granting bail to Padalkar, it considered her young age, that the case was based on circumstantial evidence and with the chargesheet being filed, there would be no purpose keeping her behind bars.


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