Two days after his seven-year-old son alleged that Premnath Khatre (40) had killed his wife Geeta, the Charkop police arrested him.
However, he has been charged with abetment to suicide, not murder. The reason: The police claim Yashwant (name changed) is in shock and has changed his statement several times.
On Sunday evening, Geeta’s body was found hanging from the ceiling fan of her row house in Charkop.
On the same day, her younger son Yashwant told his grandmother that his father had killed her by strangulating her with an iron chain before hanging her body with her dupatta.
Yashwant was called to the police station on Monday so his statement could be recorded. “The boy is in shock and is giving different versions of the incident. It is creating confusion,” said PS Gawande, Senior Inspector of Charkop police station. “He told us he was playing outside when he heard his father’s cries and he ran in to see his mother hanging from the ceiling and his father holding her legs.
“We have charged Premnath for abetting his wife to commit suicide,” Gawande said.
When asked about the marks on Geeta’s neck made by an iron chain with which Yashwant had alleged his father strangled her, Gawande said: “There are no chain marks on her neck. The post-mortem report states the cause of death as asphyxiation. Yashwant did not tell us anything about an iron chain.”
The police said Premnath had had an affair three years ago and that was a cause for frequent fights between the couple. “Geeta often taunted Premnath about the affair and he used to beat her,” said Gawande.
The police said that in his final statement, the boy had said that Geeta and he had gone with Premnath to his garage. In the afternoon his parents had fought and Premnath had left them at the garage and gone home.
“After they got back home, Yashwant went to play and Premnath went to the room on the first floor. He later came down and saw she found she had hanged herself,” said Gawande.
Premnath and Geeta had been married for 14 years and have two sons. Their older son Sanket is at the military school in Nashik, Yashwant stayed with them.
Premnath admits he used to hit his wife but did not kill her. “I had to pay a fine of Rs 1,200 to the police when I hit her in January and she lodged a non-cognisable offence against me,” Premnath said. “I don’t want to live without Geeta and will commit suicide like she did.”