After facing charges of subjecting his wife to cruelty and abetting her suicide for a decade, Bharat Patil was a relieved man.
The Bombay high court acquitted Bharat on April 7, dismissing the allegations levelled by his father-in-law, Sahebrao Patil, an assistant sub-inspector in Dhule. "I have no hesitation to accept the arguments of the defence that the complaint was filed… because Sahebrao Patil is a police officer and wanted to take revenge because he lost his daughter by her own foolish act," said justice ND Deshpande.
When Vasai resident Patil married Yogita in 1993, Sahebrao claimed he had given a dowry of Rs 51,000. In February 2001, the couple visited Dhule for Yogita's brother's marriage. In his complaint, Sahebrao alleged that his son-in-law had an argument with him. After the couple returned home, Sahebrao claimed Yogita often called him and complained that Bharat was harassing her. On April 30, 2001, Sahebrao got a call from Bharat's sister Sangita, informing him that Yogita had consumed poison and she was admitted to a hospital. She died the next day. Sahebrao lodged a complaint, alleging that Bharat had abetted Yogita's suicide.
When the sessions court in Palghar was hearing the case, Bharat said Yogita had consumed poison because she was angry with her father who refused her invitation for dinner. The court sentenced him to 10 years in jail. Patil challenged the order.
The high court observed that from 1993 to 2001, Yogita never complained about ill-treatment nor dowry demands. "Merely because Yogita died due to poisoning by consuming some medicines and according to the prosecution she committed suicide it cannot be said that it was the husband who abetted her act," the high court said.