Kerala snake bite case: Man gets double life sentence for murdering wife

A court in Kerala’s Kollam on Wednesday awarded a double life sentence to a man two days after convicting him of murdering his wife by letting loose a cobra on her when she was sleeping and forcing it to bite her
Image for representation. (File photo)
Image for representation. (File photo)
Published on Oct 13, 2021 03:30 PM IST
Copy Link

A court in Kerala’s Kollam on Wednesday awarded a double life sentence to a man two days after convicting him of murdering his wife by letting loose a cobra on her when she was sleeping and forcing it to bite her. This is the first such conviction for the use of a poisonous snake for murder. The court relied on the findings of a test with a snake that showed the difference between natural and induced bite marks.

The prosecution sought capital punishment for P Sooraj, 30. Uthra, Sooraj’s 25-year-old wife, suffered a fatal bite at her home while she was undergoing treatment for another snake bite she suffered. It emerged during the investigation that the incident, involving a viper, was also orchestrated by the husband. She managed to recover from the first bite but could not survive the second.

The case surfaced in May last year after Uthra’s parents filed a police complaint two days after her death alleging Sooraj and his family members harassed their daughter for dowry. There was no eyewitness or direct circumstantial evidence in the case. The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed the case, relied on scientific and technical evidence to nail the culprit. It conducted the test with a snake to show the difference between natural and induced bite marks.

Uthra’s parents said they were unhappy as they expected a death sentence. They plan to move the high court for capital punishment. “Capital punishment would have given a clear message to people who have such criminal minds,” said her mother, Manimekhala.

The court called the murder a rarest of the rare cases but awarded Sooraj double life imprisonment considering his age and that he has no criminal past. The prosecution insisted on a death sentence saying Sooraj committed four out of five acts listed by the Supreme Court as a reasonable ground for awarding a death sentence.

Sooraj was found guilty under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison), and 202 (destruction of evidence).

Double life term was awarded in the first two and 17 years in jail under the last two sections. He was also asked to pay five lakh fine as well.

Prosecutor G Mohanraj said he is happy with the verdict and congratulated the SIT.

S Harishankar, the SIT chief, said he is satisfied with the verdict. He added they examined four such snake bite cases reported in the country which later ended with the acquittal of the accused. “We studied four such reported cases in the country in detail. Two took place in the family and two outside and examined major flaws so we prepared a well-researched charge sheet without any loopholes,” said Harishankar.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, December 06, 2021