Considering Uthra murder case as rarest-of-rare, Kollam Additional Sessions Court on Wednesday awarded double life sentence besides 17 years of imprisonment to Sooraj for murdering his wife using a cobra.
Kollam Additional Sessions Court on Monday found Sooraj guilty.
According to the judgment, the convict will have to first undergo 17 years of imprisonment as he was found guilty under 328 (causing hurt by means of poison) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the IPC. The double life term for sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) will start only after serving the 17 years. The court also imposed a fine of ₹5 lakh on the convict.
Though the prosecution had argued for death penalty, an exemplary punishment for the barbaric crime, chances for reformation due to Sooraj’s young age and no mention of any criminal history worked in his favour.
Uthra’s mother Manimekhala who watched the proceedings on television said she is disappointed with the verdict. "Such loopholes in the law has been creating criminals like Sooraj and we will definitely approach the High Court," she said adding that the family feels they were denied justice.
She pointed out that if a hardened criminal like Sooraj is not awarded capital punishment it will set a bad precedence.
When Uthra, a 25-year-old differently abled woman, was found dead due to snakebite, there were murmurs about a ‘sarppa kopam’ among locals. The young homemaker had sustained a near-fatal bite on March 2, 2020 and her life was claimed by another snake on May 7, while she was recovering from the initial attack. She was first bitten by a viper and then a cobra, the two incidents separated by nearly nine weeks. Uthra was found dead at her home in Anchal and the cobra that killed her was also spotted there. But her family was not ready to dismiss the incident as a natural snakebite death and alleged foul play. A police investigation followed, and the chargesheet gave details of a conspiracy, pointing to a murder painstakingly planned and executed by her husband Sooraj.
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