Mumbai: Relying on circumstantial evidence, the Bombay High Court has confirmed life sentence awarded to a man and three members of his family for killing the former`s wife and dumping her body into a well.
Disposing of their appeals, Justices P D Kode and Vijaya Tahilramani also found the appellants -- Anil Nulle, his parents Appasaheb and Indubai and married sister Geeta Patil -- guilty of subjecting the victim to cruelty. The judges upheld their two-year sentence on this count.
The judges, in a recent order, further found the appellants guilty of hiding evidence and sentenced them to three years` imprisonment on this count. All the sentences would run concurrently.
According to prosecution, Anil married Laxmi in 2001 at Hupari in Ganganagar area of Kolhapur district. However, after one year of marriage, Laxmi was harassed for dowry. She was asked to bring from her parents gold ornaments and Rs 25,000 spent on her delivery. Laxmi`s sister-in-law allegedly instigated other family members to demand dowry.
When Laxmi failed to bring money and jewellery from her parents house, she was sent back. However, Anil took her back home with a warning to his mother-in-law that their demands should be met soon.
Laxmi`s mother later went to Anil`s house and gave silver ornaments and clothes to them. She also borrowed Rs 5,000 from her brother Pundalik to meet Laxmi`s dowry demand and gave the money to Anil`s family. However, Laxmi`s mother was reprimanded for bringing in Rs 5,000 only as against the demand of Rs 25,000.
On October 14, 2006, Anil telephoned Laxmi`s mother to inform that her daughter fell into a well accidentally. She was taken to a hospital where she was declared dead. The post mortem report did not confirm that death was due to drowning.
According to prosecution, she was killed with a stick and the body was thrown into a well. The stick was recovered at the instance of Anil.
The court did not accept her sister-in-law`s argument that she was not staying with Anil`s family and hence could not be held responsible for instigating others against Laxmi.