Ranganath Misra, J.
1. These appeals are directed against a common judgment of acquittal passed by the High Court of Allahabad after obtaining special leave.
2. Prosecution alleged that the five accused persons (respondents) had caused death of Raaz Mohammad on April 20, 1973, in the Sweepers' Colony within Gorakhpur city. The First Information Report was lodged within half hour of the incident.
3. At the trial, PW. 1 was the only witness who supported the prosecution case. Rahim Khan (PW. 1) and the deceased were Afghan nationals and were carrying on business of money lending. P.W. 1 was also working as a hawker of cloth. The deceased was his nephew. Both of them lived in Gorakhpur for about five years before the occurrence. According to the prosecution respondents had already taken some loan from the deceased and wanted further loans. When the deceased refused to oblige, Satish stabbed him with a knife in the stomach. After the deceased fell down, two of the accused respondents caught hold of him by his legs and the other two held him by hands and Satish gave further blows with the knife, as a result of which he died. The learned trial Judge accepted the evidence of PW. 1 and found support from the circumstances as indicated in his judgment; he accordingly convicted Satish Under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code and imposed the sentence of death. The other accused persons were convicted Under Sections 302/49 of I.P.C. and were given imprisonment for life. All the respondents, except Satish, were convicted Under Section 147 and Satish Under Section
6. It is not necessary in law that more than one witness should be examined to prove a fact but unless the witness is very reliable, the court would ordinarily look for corroboration. PW. 1 is admittedly a close relation of the deceased and he is a stranger so far as the accused are concerned. Unless there is satisfactory evidence to that the accused persons had really caused death of the deceased. While all other particulars relating to the prosecution case may not be disputed, as held by the High Coimplicate the accused persons in the crime, it would be difficult to hold urt, the authorship of the crime had been in dispute and the prosecution has to fail as it has not established that fact. If the link between the incident and the respondents is not established, the High Court was justified in acquitting them.
7. We are of the opinion that the acquittal by the High Court in such circumstances is not open to attack. The appeals fail and are dismissed. The order of acquittal passed by the High Court is upheld. The respondents are already on bail; their bail-bonds are cancelled.