Kollam: A Court in Kollam, convicted Sooraj S Kumar, of murdering his wife Uthra (25), by forcing a poisonous snake to bite her, imposing his double life sentence punishment. The Kollam Additional Sessions Court Judge M Manoj observed that the case was ‘rarest of rare’, and slammed a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on the culprit.
The Court decided on awarding life sentence despite the prosecution requesting for death penalty, considering the age and lack of criminal history of the convict. However, he will have to serve prison time for 10 and 7 years consecutively over various charges registered against him before starting his life sentence. Suresh, a resident of Chavarukavu, Kalluvathukkal, who sold the cobra to Sooraj, turned approver in the case.
Uthra’s father Vijayasenan and brother Vishu, who were present in the court as the verdict was announced, said that they were unhappy with the order. Uthra’s mother Manimeghala said that they would seek legal measures to ensure maximum punishment to Sooraj, adding that the loopholes in the legal system are creating criminals in the society.
Police officer S Harishankar, who led the probe team, said he was satisfied with the sentence. ‘The court convicted the accused in all charges imposed by the investigators. This is a victory of the coordination between the probe team, prosecution and other departments involved in the investigation,’ he said.
On October 11, the court had found Sooraj guilty for committing offences under Indian Penal Code (IPC) such as murder (Section 302), attempt to murder (Section 307), causing hurt by means of poison (Section 328), and causing disappearance of evidence of offence (Section 201). The prosecution had demanded for death sentence as it was the rarest of the rare cases, adding that the 28-year-old had committed four out of the five acts listed by the Supreme Court of India as reasonable grounds for awarding the death sentence.
The crime branch wing of the state police carried out a detailed investigation and even used a dummy to recreate the incident. The cobra that had bitten Uthra was 150 centimetre long, and the bite by such a snake would cause only a 1.7 or 1.8 cm-deep puncture on the human body. Investigators, who conducted the dummy experiment, established that Sooraj had held the snake’s hood against Uthra’s body, causing the puncture to go as deep as 2.3 and 2.8 cms.