A district court has sentenced a 37-year-old man to life imprisonment for killing his wife in 2013, while relying on the deposition of the couple’s two teenage children. District Judge H M Patwardhan pronounced Balasaheb Amrut Baswant, a resident of Mumbra township here, guilty under IPC section 302 (murder) while sentencing him to life imprisonment.
The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him. Prosecutor Varsha Chandane told the court that Baswant and his wife, then aged 35, used to have frequent quarrels over various issues. On December 21, 2013 the man again picked up a fight with his wife. He then poured kerosene on her, set on her fire and fled the house. The woman’s parents, who resided in the neighbourhood, rushed her to a hospital where she succumbed to injuries two days later, the prosecution said.
The couple’s two sons, who were studying in classes 9 and 10, deposed before the court. One of the boys told the court that on that night, their father came home heavily drunk, fought with their mother and beat her up. When the boys tried to intervene, the accused tied up both of them with some cloth pieces. Later, as their mother went into the kitchen, the accused followed her there, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire, the boy said.
The boy said he and his sibling managed to untie themselves after much struggle and saw their mother on fire. They immediately rushed to their grandparents’ home to inform them. Upon seeing the woman’s parents, the accused ran out of the house, the boy told the court. The man was later arrested, the prosecution said. Defence counsel Ramrao Jagtap argued that the witnesses (the two children) were trying to falsely implicate the accused in the case. However, the judge said since no circumstances are brought on record which may have forced the victim to commit suicide, the question of false implication of the accused does not arise.
There is nothing on record to suggest that the children were interested in falsely implicating the accused, the judge noted while accepting their depositions that the accused had set their mother on fire. He also observed that in such type of cases, the intention and knowledge also play an important role. It is known to everybody that kerosene is a highly inflammable substance, and pouring it on the person before setting her on fire is sufficient to infer that the accused knowingly and intentionally committed the offence, the judge said in his order last week.