A MAN was convicted on Wednesday by a sessions court for getting his wife murdered through a staged robbery.
The murder of 38-year old Beena Dedhia in October 2009 in Kalachowkie, while she was out on a morning walk with her husband Jiten, had sent shockwaves across the city. Two bike-borne assailants had fatally attacked Beena while also snatching her gold chain and fleeing.
The incident had raised fears over women’s safety in the city, and the Mumbai Police had rounded up many chain-snatchers in an attempt to allay the concerns.
Within two months, however, the murder by ‘chain-snatchers’ turned out to be a conspiracy by the complainant in the case, the victim’s husband Jiten. The police claimed that Jiten killed his wife because he was in a relationship with another woman. The prosecution’s case was that Beena had refused to grant Jiten a divorce, and hence he had her killed. He had planned the killing to make it look like his wife died in a robbery.
Two men — Hasruddin Malik, a fruit juice vendor, and Mohammed Nazim Khan, a taxi driver — were hired by him to kill his wife, snatch her gold valuables and also attack him, to make the plot look real.
In December 2009, the crime branch arrested the three men along with one Rajnikanth Wagh, who they claimed had introduced Jiten to the two assailants. The police also arrested Beena’s sister-in-law as a co-accused.
On Wednesday, the sessions court found Jiten, Malik and Khan guilty, but acquitted Wagh. The woman was earlier discharged from the case by the Sewri court. The state’s appeal against the discharge in the High Court was granted. Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian said that the Sewri court had discharged both Jiten and the woman, but the HC overturned the court’s order, leading to his prosecution.
“We examined over 30 witnesses in the case. The accused was convicted on the basis of strong technical evidence, including call data records that showed he was in touch with the others before and after the murder. A crucial call was the one he made to the assailants to signal them before he left home with his wife for the morning walk,” said Salian. She added that the prosecution had proved that Jiten had many mobile phones through which he had contacted the other two accused. The court will decide on the quantum of punishment for the three on August 1.