A court in Kerala on Wednesday awarded double life sentence, besides 17 years of imprisonment to a man for murdering his wife using a cobra.
The Kollam Additional Sessions Court had found Suraj S Kumar guilty of murdering Uthra on Monday.
According to the judgment, Suraj will have to first undergo 17 years of imprisonment as he was found guilty under Sections 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 him.
The prosecution had argued for death penalty in the case. However, the convict’s age and lack of criminal history worked in his favour.
Uthra’s mother Manimekhala, who watched the proceedings on television, said she was disappointed with the verdict. “Such loopholes in the law has been creating criminals like Suraj. We will definitely approach the high court,” she said.
Manimekhala said that if a hardened criminal like Suraj was not awarded capital punishment it would set a bad precedence.
Uthra, a 25-year-old differently abled woman, was found dead due to snakebite on May 7, 2020. She 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 parents’ home in Anchal and the cobra that killed her was also found there. A police investigation followed, and the chargesheet gave details of a conspiracy, pointing to a murder planned and executed by her husband Suraj.