A young Tiruchy-based couple, who had fallen in love and married without the knowledge of their parents and got entangled in a messy murder case has been acquitted by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court here, for want of conclusive evidence. In July last, the Tiruchy Principal Sessions Court had held the couple Venkatesan and Vasanthi guilty and awarded them life imprisonment.
In August 2008, Venkatesan, who was then pursuing an MCA degree, had entered into wedlock with Vasanthi, a BSc student, at a Sub-Registrar’s office in Tiruchy without the knowledge of their parents, and fled from their homes.
Meanwhile, a common friend Nithya, who learnt about their secret marriage, allegedly began blackmailing them that she would expose their secret to their parents. On one occasion, Nithya claimed that she was pregnant and even sought Vasanthi’s help for an abortion.
Mysteriously, on December 26, 2008, Nithya’s body, charred beyond recognition, was found at Vasanthi’s parental home. Vasanthi’s father mistook it to be his daughter’s body and informed the police.
According to advocate Lenin, who is related to Vasanthi, she was shocked to see reports of her death in newspapers and immediately appeared before the police to clear the air. Baffled police reopened investigations during which it came to light that the girl who had died was Nithya, and her parents had already filed a ‘missing’ complaint.
Suspecting that Vasanthi and Venkatesan must have eliminated Nithya and set fire to her body, the police arrested the young couple.
Challenging their conviction by the lower court, the couple moved the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. A division bench comprising Justices M Jaichandren and S Nagamuthu acquitted them holding that there was only circumstantial evidence.