On Monday, the Kollam Additional District and Sessions Court, presided by Justice Manoj M convicted Sooraj S Kumar who allegedly murdered his wife, who was sleeping, by getting her bitten by a venomous and starving cobra with an intention to kill her.
In order to come to a conclusion and complete the investigation, a postmortem was conducted of the snake to affirm whether it was the same snake that was used to attack the deceased and a dummy trial of the incident was also created. Furthermore, a renowned snake handler’s opinion was also taken who testified before the court after examining the fang width that the snakebite on the deceased’s body was not natural and was probably induced.
The scientific evidence submitted before the court was collected with the help of a team comprising forensic experts, herpetologists, veterinary surgeons and officials from the Forest and Animal Husbandry departments.
Background of the case:
In a grave and rather heinous crime that numbed the State, Uthra, a 25-year-old homemaker, was found dead at her home from a snakebite on 7th May 2020. Initially, attempts were made to dismiss this as a natural snakebite but her family suspected foul play.
Her family alleged that the murder was done in order to acquire gold and property from the deceased and they also submitted that she was repeatedly subjected to harassment from her husband and his family for dowry. They argued that it was not possible for a snake to enter a closed air-conditioned room, whose floors were also tiled. The suspicion of the family was fortified by the fact that less than nine weeks before her death, Uthra sustained another near-fatal attack from a viper and was still recovering from the same when her life was claimed by the second snakebite.
Subsequently, a police investigation was done and the 1000 paged charge sheet unearthed the elaborate conspiracy planned and implemented by her husband. The accused and the man who helped him in procuring the snake were subsequently arrested after which the handler confessed that both the snakes were sold for Rs 10,000 and that he was unaware of the purpose behind the purchase.
The accused confessed to his crime during his interrogation and admitted that he kept two snakes in a jar and didn’t feed them in order to kill his wife. Later on, 38 sovereigns of Uthra’s gold which were buried in a rubber estate was recovered from their residence and the father, sister and mother of the accused were also arrested.