Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has confirmed the life imprisonment awarded to a man by a lower court for murdering his wife by setting her ablaze after she refused to pay him money to buy liquor.
"After going through the record of this case, we find there is sufficient evidence to connect the appellant with the crime. Hence, we find no merit in the appeal and dismiss it," said Justices Mridula Bhatkar and Vijaya Tahilramani.
A Thane sessions court on May 20, 2009, had convicted Manik Babulal Chavan under section 302 IPC (murder) for killing his wife by setting her on fire.
Chavan challenged the verdict in the High Court which said he was prima facie guilty of the crime.
The victim, Sunita was married to the appellant about 10 years prior to the incident and the couple was residing at Airoli in adjoining Thane district with their minor children.
The appellant was a drunkard and frequently used to pick up fights and assault his wife over money to buy liquor.
On August 4, 2007, the appellant had a fight with Sunita after she refused to part money. He then doused her with kerosene and set her ablaze before fleeing from the house.
His minor son who witnessed the crime raised an alarm following which a nearby shopkeeper came rushing in and found the victim writhing in pain. He poured water on her to douse flames.
Sunita told the shopkeeper that her husband had set her on fire as she refused to give him money to buy liquor.
Police regarded this as her oral dying declaration.
The victim suffered 92 per cent burn injuries and died a week later.
Sunita gave two more dying declarations, one to police sub-inspector M S Patil and the other to Special Executive Officer S G Waghchaure, saying her husband had torched her.