A man and his five family members,facing trial for dowry death of his wife,have been slapped by a Delhi court with an additional charge of murdering her in cold blood,after a photograph of her body,hanging from a ceiling fan,showed her knees touching and bent on the bed.
The court slapped the charge of murder on North West Delhi resident Sanjeev Kumar and his five family members after Public Prosecutor P K Verma,pointed out that the photograph clearly showed that height of the ceiling from the bed was not sufficient for the victim to hang herself.
The photographs showed the knees of deceased Ritu were bent upon the bed even as she was tied to the ceiling fan,whereas the police had said in the charge sheet that the victim was found hanging from the ceiling fan.
Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar slapped Kumar and his family members with murder charges about five months after putting them on trial on charges of causing harassment and death (sections 498A and 304B of IPC respectively) to Ritu for dowry.
Sanjeev’s other family members,who were slapped murder charges are his brothers Sunil,Umesh and Sagar and sisters-in-law Renu and Preeti. While Sanjeev is currently in jail,all others are out on bail.
While slapping the six with the murder charges,the court said,”After hearing the arguments and going through the record,I found that,in this case,earlier the IO has not filed the photographs,which were taken by the Photographer of Mobile Crime Team.”
While dowry death carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and a minimum of seven years,Indian Penal Code provides a maximum punishment of death and minimum life sentence for murder.
The court also wondered as to why the investigating officer of the case did not produce the photographs,taken by the Crime Mobile Team,showing the slain woman’s knee touching the bed and instead filed photographs with the chargesheet,which were not very clear.
From the pictures,produced by the photographer of the mobile crime team,”the position of dead body is clear that the knees of the dead body are bent (on the bed),which are not clearly there in the photographs,filed by the IO with the chargesheet,” the court noted.
“No explanation,whatsoever,has come on record as to why the photographs taken by the Photographer,Mobile Crime Team,were not filed by the IO along with the chargesheet.
“I am of the considered view that,prima facie,charge under section 302 read with Section 34 IPC (common intention to commit the crime) is made out against all the accused persons,” the ASJ said.