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Man accused of killing wife let off by High Court for want of proof


Giving the benefit of doubt, the Bombay High Court has acquitted a man charged with killing his wife over a decade ago
CourtMumbai: Giving the benefit of doubt, the Bombay High Court has acquitted a man charged with killing his wife over a decade ago.

Dattu Murlidhar Madhvai, a resident of Yeola in Nashik district, accused of assaulting his wife Kavita and throwing her into a well, was let off as the prosecution failed to prove its case against him. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court.

Machindra and Ramesh, both brothers of Dattu, were also acquitted of the charge of causing injuries to their sister-in-law leading to her death.

The duo was awarded seven years’ rigorous imprisonment by the trial court under IPC Section 304-B, a dowry-related clause dealing with causing fatal injuries to a woman within seven years of her marriage.

“Upon careful consideration of the evidence, we find that the prosecution has utterly failed to prove the offence against the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The appellants, therefore, in our opinion, are entitled to be given the benefit of doubt,” said a Bench headed by Justice P V Hardasin a judgement delivered on April 1.

“In respect of the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC (murder), we find that there is absolutely no evidence that the accused had assaulted the deceased and thereafter thrown her in a well,” the Bench said.

The evidence on record would certainly indicate that Kavita may have accidentally fallen in the well and may have died due to drowning, the Judges said.

The trial court had sentenced Kavita’s husband to life imprisonment for murder and her brothers-in-law to seven years and three years RI on the twin charges of assaulting her and subjecting her to cruelty, respectively.

The prosecution’s case was that the husband and in-laws of Kavita were cruel to her and forced her to bring Rs 50,000 from her parents to buy a tractor. The father of the victim had given Rs 10,000 as advance to the main accused and promised to pay the balance later. As Rs 40,000 was unpaid, Kavita was subjected to cruelty and later killed.

On August 29, 2003, Kavita was found missing and a police complaint was lodged by her father. The next day, her body was found floating in a well near her house.


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