1. The appellant aped about 28 has been found guilty of the murder of one Koti Veeramma a well-to-do elderly woman aged sixty who lived by herself at Narasapur and disappeared from her house on the night of 17-11-49. According to the prosecution case she was throttled to death by four persons including A. 1 and A. 2 who were actually tried for this murder, one Basavayya, a relation of Veeramma and one Ankisetti who has been absconding.
2. The motive centred round Easavayya who is said to have died in jail while on remand and who was the deceased's sister's grand-daughter's husband. The deceased Veeramma is said to have made a settlement deed of her property in favour of Basavayya and to have sought to revoke it by a lawyer's notice, Ex. P. 3 dated 9-6-1949 issued by an advocate, P. W. 6. The prosecution case briefly is that Basavayya in conspiracy with the other accused persons encompassed her death before she could revoke the settlement which had been made in his favour. While he retained the property he is said to have distributed the deceased Veeramma's jewels to the other associates in this crime.
3. The disappearance of Veeramma who was living by herself was noticed and reported by her neighbour, P. W. 1 at the police station seven days later. On the 24th of November, the Sub-Inspector after investigation found Veeramma's body in a salt creek on the evening of 27th in a highly decomposed condition in a gunny bag. The lady doctor, P. W. 5 who held the post mortem could not diagnose the exact cause of death. Veeramma's body was, however, identified by three neighbours of her's P. Ws. 1 to 3 and also by a sari M. O. No. 6 which was identified by a washerman, P. W. 20 who used to wash clothes for the deceased Veeramma. It was not till 3-12-1949 that the appellant was arrested. A. 2 has been acquitted on what the appellant's advocate urges is rather similar evidence. On information given by the appellant the police recovered a 'number of jewels and ornaments which have been satisfactorily proved to belong to the deceased Veeramma. (His Lordship then referred to the evidence relating to the recovery of the jewels and ornaments and continued as under:) We see no reason to disbelieve the evidence of the recovery of these jewels on thisappellant's information. What these recoveriesprove in the circumstances is that the appellantwas found in possession of articles belonging tothe murdered Veeramma.
4. There were two witnesses, P. Ws. 8 and 9 who were prepared to swear that they saw A. 1 and A. 2 Basaviah and Anki Chetti near the Sub-Collector's office after a cinema show on 17-11-1949 carrying a gunny bag. Their evidence has raised wholly unnecessary complications in the trial. The learned Sessions Judge quite unnecessarily in our opinion, framed three charges against these two accused one of murder under Section 302 another (sic) robbery under Section 392 and yet a third charge under Section 201, I. P. C. He very strangely acquitted this appellant of the charge under Section 201, I. P. C., and at the same time on the strength of the recovery of the Jewels which he believed belonged to Vee-ramma he convicted the appellant under Section 302 for the offence of murder and sentenced him to transportation for life and in addition found him guilty under Section 379 or Section 411, I. P. C., in the alternative and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years. It is quite unnecessary, in a case of murder for gain to frame separate charges under Section 392 or Section 411 or Section 379 or Section 201, I. P. C. We are embarrassed at the unsatisfactory manner in which this case has been dealt with and at the acquittal of this appellant an the circumstances of the charge under Section 201, I. P. C. Normally if an accused person is' convicted under Section 302 I. P. C., of murder it would be quite open to the appellate Bench, if the evidence warrants it to modify the conviction to one under Section 201, I. P. C., if the facts show that the appellant had no hand in the murder itself but only assisted in the disposal of the body after the murder.
5. On the facts of the present case we thinkthe evidence will not warrant the conviction of (sic)appellant directly on the charge of murder. The (sic)is no material to show that he had any en(sic)against Veeramma and even according to the pro-secution case it was the deceased Basavayya whowas the main spring of the murder and who employed the services of the other three accused persons and the services of this appellant were utilisedfor the murder itself. At the same time Veerammabody after she was murdered was put into a gunnybag and carried to some considerable distance anddeposited in a salt creek. This was obviously thework of several persons and it may well have beenthat the appellant participated. On the evidence however in fairness to the appellant we thinkswhat the prosecution has conclusively establishedIn this case is that he was in possession of thesearticles of Veeramma which he undoubtedly re-ceived for the services he rendered in connectionwith the murder. His actual participation in themurder has not been established. In view of thespecific acquittal by the learned Sessions Judge ofthe appellant under Section 201, I. P. C., which is of course quite inconsistent with his finding the ap-pellant guilty of murder under Section 302, I. P. C., wefeel it would not be strictly correct for us tomodify the conviction to one under Section 201, I. P. C.without the State filing an appeal against the ac-quittal. With the principal culprit Basavayya no(sic)dead the ends of justice would, we think, be servedby our merely confirming the conviction of theappellant under Section 379 or Section 411, I. P. C., and thesentence of two years' rigorous imprisonment pass-ed upon him. The conviction and sentence formurder are set aside.