Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has acquitted a man in a murder case after he spent 21 years and nine months behind the bars.
The high court has ordered immediate release of Sadhu Pradhan from jail.
Pradhan, a resident of Kantapada village in Ganjam district, was arrested in November 1997 in connection with the killing of a woman.
A district court sentenced him to life imprisonment in August 1999.
He was also booked for theft as some ornaments of the victim were not found when her body was fished out of a village canal. Pradhan was, however, absolved of the theft charge in the trial court.
His appeal against the trial court verdict was pending in the high court and a division bench of justices S K Mishra and A K Mishra concluded the hearing in July.
In its verdict delivered on Monday, the bench acquitted Pradhan, holding that the trial court had committed an error in not appreciating the evidence in the proper perspective.
The high court observed that the prosecution had failed in ascertaining the motive behind the killing.