Uthra murder case: Husband awarded life imprisonment, Rs 5.85 lakh fine for killing wife using Cobra

Sooraj was found guilty of murder and also convicted for poisoning, destruction of evidence and also attempt to murder for his first try at killing his then 25-year-old wife.

Sooraj was found guilty of murder and also convicted for poisoning, destruction of evidence and also attempt to murder for his first try at killing his then 25-year-old wife.

A Kerala court on Wednesday sentenced Sooraj S Kumar to life imprisonment for murdering his wife Uthra by getting her bitten with a Cobra snake. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5.85 lakh on the accused. On October 11, the court had held the husband guilty of murder, poisoning, destruction of evidence and also attempt to murder for his first try at killing his then 25-year-old wife by using a viper.

Additional Sessions Judge-VI Manoj M, who pronounced the sentence, said the case was a rarest of the rare, but looking at the age of the convict — 28 years now — it decided to award him life sentence instead of death, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) G Mohanraj told reporters outside the court.

Besides life for murder, Kumar was also awarded life sentence for the offence of attempt to murder, 10 years for poisoning and seven years for destruction of evidence, the SPP said. He also said that the court has specifically directed that the convict will first serve the sentences awarded for poisoning and destruction of evidence — total 17 years — and thereafter, his life imprisonment will commence.

Additional Public Prosecutor A K Manoj also confirmed the order and told PTI that the court has said the two life terms awarded to Kumar would run concurrently. He also said that the court has imposed a total fine of Rs 5.85 lakh on the convict.

Another reason cited by the court for not awarding death was the lack of criminal antecedents of the convict, he said. After the sentence was pronounced, the victim’s mother told a news channel that she was not satisfied with the decision as she had expected death would be awarded to the convict.

Suraj was found guilty under IPC sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 328 and 201 after the prosecution had argued that he killed her on May 7, 2020, using a cobra after drugging her.

Demanding capital punishment for Sooraj, Advocate G Mohan Raj, special public prosecutor, said Uthra was differently abled and during marriage, dowry of about 98 sovereigns of gold, Rs 4 lakh and a car was given. Uthra’s father also used to give about Rs 8,000 every month. The prosecution case was that Sooraj wanted all these benefits and hence resorted to the crime.

Sooraj had killed his wife Uthra by letting a cobra bite her in her sleep in May last year. Police had cracked the case following suspicion raised by Uthra’s family as it was the second time she suffered a snake-bite in three months.

The case dates back to May 7, 2020 when Uthra (25), mother of a one-year-old, was found dead due to a snakebite at her home in Anchal in Kerala’s Kollam district. The cobra that bit her and later found in the same bedroom was reported to have inflicted the bite in the night as Uthra, her husband Sooraj and their one-year-old child slept.

Though it was initially dismissed as a snakebite death by the local police, the fact that Uthra had been bitten earlier by a viper on March 2, 2020 at her in-laws home that required her to be hospitalised, and a complaint of foul-play in her death by her parents forced police higher-ups to launch a detailed investigation.

The police claimed that Sooraj purchased both the viper and the cobra from a snake handler to kill his wife and make it seem like a natural snakebite. Though the attempt by getting the viper to bite her in March 2020 failed as she was hospitalised in time, he managed to repeat the devious act with the cobra two months later. She was under treatment for over 50 days at a hospital following the first snakebite.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Harishanker said the accused was nailed by using forensic medicine, analysis of animal DNA and cyber data as well as an experiment using a dummy and a cobra snake to ascertain how the crime was committed. SP Harishanker, who also spoke to the reporters, said the convict’s YouTube and search history revealed the extent of research he had carried out on snakes.

In fact, his search history revealed that when his wife was bitten by a viper in the first attempt at murder and was undergoing treatment in a hospital ICU, he was busy searching for a cobra snake while waiting outside the ward.

Following the conviction, the victim’s mother told a news channel that the verdict will not bring her daughter back and therefore, she wants the harshest punishment of the land — death — for the convict. Uthra’s father and brother too said the most stringent punishment should be awarded to the convict.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express Telegram Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.