March 2, 2021 11:59:53 pm
The day after he was arrested from Pali district of Rajasthan, Aarif Khan, accused of abetting the suicide of his 23-year-old wife in the Sabarmati river on February 25, was brought to Ahmedabad on Tuesday morning.
According to police, the woman, Ayesha Banu Makrani, allegedly jumped into the river after recording a video message due to harassment meted out by her husband. Aarif, a native of Jalore in Rajasthan, was held from Pali on Monday night by a team of Ahmedabad Police from his relative’s place.
“The accused has been brought to Ahmedabad today morning and we are interrogating him. We will produce him in front of the magistrate around 1 pm on Wednesday and seek police remand. We are also analysing the call detail records of the accused,” said VM Desai, police inspector, Sabarmati Riverfront West Police Station.
Ayesha Banu, a resident of Almina Park in Vatva of Ahmedabad, married Aarif, a mining supervisor, in 2018. She was an employee of ICICI Bank mutual funds division and a final year student of MA in Economics in SV Commerce College at Relief Road in Ahmedabad. Due to alleged physical and mental harassment inflicted by Aarif, Ayesha was living with her parents in Vatva since March 10, 2020.
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In the afternoon on February 25, Ayesha recorded a two-minute video in which she made an emotional appeal to her father, Liyaqat Ali Makrani, requesting him to not pursue a case of domestic violence against her husband. She said she was “granting freedom to Aarif” before jumping into Sabarmati river.
After her body was recovered in evening, police initially lodged an accidental death report. However, after the video message surfaced, Khan was booked under Indian Penal Code sections 306 for abetment to suicide at Sabarmati Riverfront West police station.
Ayesha’s father said that he had paid Rs 1.5 lakh in dowry to Aarif on January 26, 2020. Even in 2019, an FIR was lodged against Aarif and his parents and sisters at Vatva police station for domestic violence and dowry harassment after Ayesha had alleged that she was beaten up at her in-laws’ residence in Jalore.
Police also obtained Ayesha’s call detail records (CDR), which showed that on February 25, she had a 72-minute conversation with Aarif before taking the extreme step. Ayesha also had a five-minute conversation with her parents in which the latter are heard pleading to her to not take the extreme step, police said.
According to police sources, in the 72-minute conversation, Aarif allegedly asked Ayesha to tell her father to withdraw the case of domestic violence and later told her to “shoot a video message for him and then kill herself”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Jafar Khan, advocate for Ayesha’s father Liyaqat Ali, said Ayesha had a miscarriage in 2019.
“Aarif was constantly pressuring Ayesha and his family for dowry and in 2019, when she was pregnant, he had come from Jalore to Ahmedabad to demand dowry money. When Liyaqat Ali declined to pay him, he fought with Ayesha and went back. She then had a miscarriage. In January 2020, Liyaqat paid Rs 1.5 lakh to him,” he said.
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