Nagpur: The Division Bench of the Bombay High Court at Nagpur, on Wednesday concluded the final hearing of the sensational murder case in which a practicing doctor Rajendra Kapgate was found guilty of having committed murder of his real brother-in-law Prashant Nakade on the fateful day of 12.2.2011. Finding him guilty of the offences of murder, the Sessions Judge at Nagpur had convicted the accused Kapgate for life on 31.12.2014.
Dr Kapgate had then moved the High Court in appeal challenging the said conviction and sentence of life imposed upon him by the Trial Court. The facts of the case are very peculiar since the accused Dr Rajendra Kapgate himself was a leading medical practitioner and had a flourishing practice at Sakoli. Owing to strained matrimonial relations, his wife Neeta Kapgate was residing at her paternal house along with her deceased brother Prashant Nakade and his family, while the accused was asking her to return to the matrimonial house.
In such backdrop, all the parties were attending a marriage of a common relative at Mahakalkar Sabhagruha, Nagpur on 12.2.2011. The relatives did not bring wife of the accused to the marriage and the accused asked her uncle Bhaiyyaji and deceased Prashant as to why Neeta was not brought to the said marriage. Thereafter, the accused tried to reason out with deceased Prashant Nakade to send Neeta back for matrimonial cohabitation. Upon this, deceased Prashant humiliated the accused and provoked him by shouting that “You send your sister to me, I will enjoy her and keep her as my concubine”. The accused got enraged on this public humiliation and in a fit of rage and sudden provocation, fired two bullets on Prashant from a point blank range causing his death. The incident of firing by a doctor that too in a marriage function had created sensation in Nagpur for a long time.
The matter is again atypical, since the accused even at trial admitted to have fired the bullets from his licensed firearm, nevertheless the accused claimed to have done so without any premeditation and only on a grave and sudden provocation caused by lecherous comments of the deceased about the sister of the accused. The said act is covered by Exception 4 of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code and is punishable up to 10 years of rigorous Imprisonment.
Hearing the appeal of the accused, the Division Bench of the High Court consisting of Justice B R Gavai & Justice Indira Jain accepted the said defence of the accused and placed reliance upon the defence witness examined at trial and proceeded to partly allow the appeal, thereby modifying the sentence of imprisonment from a lifer to that for 6 years. The accused has been in custody since 2011, barring a very short period for which he was released on bail. The High Court today pronounced the operative part of the judgment giving a major respite to the accused Dr Kapgate.
Senior Advocate Avinash Gupta and Advocates Aakash Gupta & V.J. Gupta represented the accused at trial and High Court. AGP Mayuri Deshmukh represented the State & Adv Sameer Sonwane pleaded for the family of the deceased.