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Ex-medical student acquitted by MP High Court in murder case after 13 years yet to be released

Family awaits son; court has ordered Rs 42 lakh compensation for the tribal man

Chandresh Marskole was acquitted by the MP  high court after being in jail for 13 years | Representative image Chandresh Marskole was acquitted by the MP high court after being in jail for 13 years | Representative image

The tribal ex-medical student, who was acquitted by Madhya Pradesh High Court in a murder case after 13 years in the jail with an order to the state government to pay Rs 42 lakh as compensation to him, is yet to be released from the Bhopal Central Jail ‘due to procedural delay’. 

The release of Chandresh Marskole, now 36, is likely only on Monday now, as the process cannot be completed on Sunday, his lawyer H.R. Naidu told THE WEEK. He said that the release will come only after the order of the HC with case records will duly reach the Bhopal jail authorities through the Bhopal district court.

In a crucial judgment on May 5, a division bench of judges Atul Sreedharan and Sunita Yadav had set aside the July 31, 2009 trial court (of additional sessions judge, Bhopal) conviction of Marskole and his consequent life sentence for murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“The appellant (Marskole) shall be set to liberty forthwith,” the order of the double bench said.

The case pertains to the murder of Shruti Hill, known to be romantically linked to Marskole, and the consequent disposal of the body at Panchmarhi in Hoshangabad district on September 19, 2008. Marskole, then a fourth year student of the Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, was charged with the murder of Shruti at his college hostel room and disposal of the body using an SUV belonging to his senior Dr Hemant Varma.

Varma and his driver Ramprasad, who had allegedly taken Marskole to Pachmarhi in the SUV, were the main witnesses in the case. 

The judgment assumed importance as the court held that “the case has been deliberately botched up and the appellant (Marskole) falsely implicated to protect perhaps, the actual perpetrators of the offence who may have been known to the higher echelons of the state police.”

The court made scathing remarks against the Bhopal police (investigating agency) and the lead trial court for the wrongful conviction of Marskole. 

After going through the details of the investigations and the trial and pointing out the loopholes, the court held, “The police was outright partisan in its investigation. It did not investigate the offence from the standpoint of the appellant at all.” It also said: “It is painful to note that the trial court has not cared to reflect upon the case of the appellant as per his statement u/s. 313 CrPC.” The court also noted that the motive of crime by Marskole was not established.

The court pointed out gaps in the statements of witnesses Dr Varma and his driver and also the failure of the police to investigate these gaps. The court also pointed out the likely proximity of Dr Varma with the then inspector general of police (IG) of Bhopal, Shailendra Shrivastava.

“Thus, from the material on record, we find the conduct of the police is malicious and the investigation has been done with the intention of securing the conviction of the appellant for an offence he did not commit and perhaps, for shielding Dr. Hemant Varma whose involvement in this offence is strongly suspected though there is no material to hold affirmatively against him as he was not on trial,” the court said.

“The court found that the case against Marskole was based on circumstantial evidence and there was no direct evidence to link him to the said murder and disposal of the body. No one saw the deceased girl in the hostel, no one saw the murder, the removal of the body, or its disposal. All the evidence was circumstantial. The appellate court (High Court) took its view on the police investigation and the trial at the sessions court level before giving its judgment,” Marskole’s lawyer Naidu told THE WEEK.


Also, the court went ahead and awarded a compensation of Rs 42 lakhs for Marskole (to be paid by the state government), holding that he had 'wasted more than thirteen precious years of his life”.

In a scathing commentary, the judgment reads: “He (Marskole) was 23 years of age on the date of his arrest and today he is 36. No amount of monetary compensation can ever replenish the period of youth he has lost for no fault of his. He has been a victim of truth being sacrificed at the altar of a motivated and malicious investigation. Whether his being a member of the scheduled tribe had anything to do with the fate he suffered cannot be stated with certainty but the indignity, discrimination and oppression, that members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes face in the state is a “notorious fact” and does not require any extraneous evidence to be led to prove the same.”

Want to see him as a doctor: Father

Meanwhile, Marskole's father Jugram Marskole, 69, who resides in the family’s ancestral village Doke in Waraseoni of Balaghat district, is eagerly awaiting the return of his son after getting cleared of the murder charge. Jugram told media persons that there is no greater relief for him than his son getting acquitted of a heinous charge and the compensation as ordered by the court does not matter to them. “The hardships and the grief that befell the family when Chandresh was convicted and lodged in jail can never be compensated. Now I just want him to be allowed to complete his medical course. My last wish is to see him as a doctor before I die,” he says.

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