THANE: A Thane court has sentenced a 33-year-old man to life in jail for killing his wife, relying on the deposition by the couple's two minor children and other witnesses.
While awarding the life-long jail term to convict Sadaphal Hariram Yadav, Additional Sessions Judge S C Khalipe also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on him.
During the trial, Additional Public Prosecutor Vandana Jadav told the court that Yadav, a resident of Vartak Nagar in Thane city, had married Usha about 15 years ago and had two children from the marriage.
Yadav and his family members, however, later started ill-treating and harassing Usha for dowry.
In 2007, the victim had lodged a complaint with an NGO against her husband and in-laws for ill treating her, prompting them to assure the victim against harassment.
The family members, however, soon re-started harassing her.
She was often beaten up by her husband, denied meals and prevented from contacting her parents and going out, the prosecutor told the court.
The woman resisted from taking strong action against them for the sake of her two children, she said.
On June 23, 2014, the woman's husband strangulated her to death with a saree and a bed sheet and tried to hang her from the ceiling fan, to make the killing appear as a case of suicide, the prosecutor said.
After committing the crime, the accused fled to his native place in Uttar Pradesh, but the Thane police traced him to his village and brought him back for trial.
The case was lodged against the woman's husband and his four other family members.
Accepting the arguments of the defence counsel for the victim's in-laws, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Judge Khalipe acquitted them due lack of conclusive evidence against them.
The court, however, rejected the arguments of the husband's counsel.
The judge observed that the deceased's two children, a son aged seven and daughter aged four and half years at the time of the incident had deposed before the court that their father would often beat and abuse their mother.
The minors categorically said their father would not give money to their mother for purchasing their school books and stationery, she said.
The children also said that their father would not accept water or food from their mother's hands, and would not even allow her to go out without his permission, she noted.
"It shows what was the conduct of the children's father towards their mother," the judge said.
The court also accepted the submission of the victim's brother, with whom he had shared the instances of her ill-treatment by the husband, prior to her death.
Considering the evidence on record, the judge, in an order on March 23, sentenced Yadav after pronouncing him guilty under IPC sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 498A (cruelty) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt).