The Supreme Court has upheld the acquittal of an orthopaedic surgeon charged with murdering and dismembering his wife's body during their honeymoon in Belgium 31 years ago.
A bench comprising justice B Sudershan Reddy and justice SS Nijjar said the CBI had not proved the guilt against the doctor, Mahender Singh Dahiya.
According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Dahiya had allegedly chopped his wife Namita's body with a butter knife as he suspected her fidelity.
Namita was a British national of Indian origin. She was murdered on the intervening night of May 27 and 28, 1979. That was the first day of their honeymoon. The alleged murder took place in Room No 415, Hotel Arenberg, Brussels, Belgium. Several pieces of Namita's body were found in a trash can in Belgium city.
Though Namita's family identified her body parts, Dahiya insisted that she had left saying she wanted to lead an independent life because her marriage was performed against her wishes.As the offence took place in a third country, the Belgium authorities investigated the crime.
Later the Scotland Yard in London also participated in the investigation as Namita was a British citizen and Dahiya was keen on settling there.
Subsequently, CBI took up the matter and arrested Dahiya, alleging he was practising in Uttar Pradesh after changing his identity. The special CBI court in Delhi convicted Dahiya for the crime in March 1999.
The Delhi High Court acquitted him and held that the CBI had "falsely implicated" him at the behest of the girl's parents.
Dismissing the CBI appeal filed against the high court verdict, the SC said the CBI was unable to conclusively establish that remnants of a dismembered body actually belonged to Namita.
"The bathroom would be used successively by different tourists occupying the room. This apart, the very recovery of the blood stains from the bidet seems highly doubtful," the bench said in response to the CBI plea that Namita was killed in the bathroom of the hotel room.
The apex court said: "Merely because the respondent objected to the behaviour of Namita towards her male friends at the birthday party of her sister would not be sufficient to hold that the appellant had the necessary motive to kill her."
"It is inconceivable that the respondent would have married Namita only for the purpose of committing her murder," the Supreme Court said.
It held that the subsequent conduct of the appellant is not consistent with the expected conduct of a guilty person.