Gujarat govt appeals in HC against acquittal

During the proceedings of the case in trial court,Parsottam had even moved an application to undergo Brain Mapping Test to prove his innocence before the HC.

Ahmedabad | Published: December 5, 2013 3:57 am

The sensational murder case of a BJP Mahila unit leader,Dr Sheela Soni of Mandal in north Gujarat,has come back in the news after the Gujarat government filed an appeal against the acquittal of her husband and a private practitioner,Dr Parsottam Soni,before the Gujarat High Court (HC). A division bench of Justices K S Jhaveri and K J Thaker recently called for the Records & Proceedings of the case from the trial court and posted it for further hearing later this month.

Sheela,then the president of BJP’s Women’s Cell of Mandal,was killed inside her house at Mandal in Viramgam taluka of Ahmedabad district on June 25,2002. Her husband,Dr Parsottam,had lodged a complaint. She was found with 32 stab injuries on various parts of her body. The murder had been reported in the evening after Parsottam left the residence for the clinic and had even a telephonic talk with Sheela from his clinic before the murder. The couple did not have children.

Initially,the investigation was handled by a police sub-inspector,but later the probe was handed over to the Local Crime Branch (LCB) at Sarkhej and the then police inspector R K Patel was made the Investigating Officer. The case had become embarrassing for the BJP,with the name of a former legal cell member of the party being dragged into it as a suspect. Subsequently,police arrested Parsottam under the charge of murdering his wife with a surgical blade,but did not attribute any motive to the crime.

However,in March this year,nearly 11 years after the murder,Parsottam was acquitted by Additional Sessions Judge,D B Patel,of Ahmedabad (Rural) District Court in Viramgam while giving him the benefit of “reasonable doubt”. During the proceedings of the case in trial court,Parsottam had even moved an application to undergo Brain Mapping Test to prove his innocence before the HC. The application was allowed by the HC,but the Gujarat government had challenged it before the Supreme Court. The apex court,however,upheld the HC order.

The Gujarat government had cited that Parsottam was the last person seen with the deceased. However,the defence had argued that Parsottam’s presence at the residence was quite natural and it could not be held against him. Parsottam also took the defence that even after the murder,the sniffer dogs of police had not pointed out anything suspicious towards him. Also,he argued while referring to various stab injuries sustained by his wife,that the injuries were such that it would have been caused by more than one assailants and with more than one weapon. He also argued that some injuries were such which could not have been caused by the surgical blade as claimed by the prosecution. Also,Parsottam pointed out that the police had shown recovery of his clothes from a public place on the roadside during his remand which contained bloodstains of O+ blood group. However,he had added,the bloodstains’ DNA was not discovered by police to match it with that of Sheela.

However,in March this year,nearly 11 years after the murder,Parsottam was acquitted by Additional Sessions Judge,D B Patel,of Ahmedabad (Rural) District Court in Viramgam while giving him the benefit of “reasonable doubt”. During the proceedings of the case in trial court,Parsottam had even moved an application to undergo Brain Mapping Test to prove his innocence before the HC. The application was allowed by the HC,but the Gujarat government had challenged it before the Supreme Court. The apex court,however,upheld the HC order.

The Gujarat government had cited that Parsottam was the last person seen with the deceased. However,the defence had argued that Parsottam’s presence at the residence was quite natural and it could not be held against him. Parsottam also took the defence that even after the murder,the sniffer dogs of police had not pointed out anything suspicious towards him. Also,he argued while referring to various stab injuries sustained by his wife,that the injuries were such that it would have been caused by more than one assailants and with more than one weapon. He also argued that some injuries were such which could not have been caused by the surgical blade as claimed by the prosecution. Also,Parsottam pointed out that the police had shown recovery of his clothes from a public place on the roadside during his remand which contained bloodstains of O+ blood group. However,he had added,the bloodstains’ DNA was not discovered by police to match it with that of Sheela.

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