A local court convicted and awarded 10 years' jail to a 33-year- man for driving his wife to suicide with endless demands of dowry. The man's parents were, however, acquitted.
Additional district and sessions judge RS Aggarwal found Jastana Khurd resident Jaswant Singh guilty under section 304B (dowry death) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The court acquitted Jaswant's mother Surinder Kaur and father Pritam Singh, giving them the benefit of the doubt as there was no direct evidence that they had made any dowry demand from their daughter-in-law, Neena Devi.
According to Kirpal Singh, the brother of the victim, on July 22, 2009, he visited his sister only to find her body in a room at her husband's house, days after her in-laws had demanded Rs 1 lakh, of which he had paid Rs 50,000 after mortgaging some land. Jaswant and Neena had been married for about two and a half years and also had an 18-month-old son when she was found dead, said the FIR registered at the Lalru police station.
The post-mortem report said she died of strangulation, and while Neena's brother alleged murder, Jaswant said Neena had hanged herself. On Kirpal's allegations, the police registered a case under section 302 (murder) and 304B (dowry death). The murder charges could not be proved.
To prove the dowry death, Neena's father Babu Ram's complaint to the panchayat about the Rs 1-lakh demand proved key.