The Bombay High Court, in a recent order, upheld life sentence awarded by a lower court to an armyman, who killed his wife by setting her afire.
Ironically, Rekha Kolhe, the victim who suffered 99 per cent burn injuries and died after battling for life for forty hours in the hospital, was herself a police constable based in Ambajogai in Beed district.
Her husband and the main accused, Rajendra Kolhe, was serving in the army at the time of the incident.
As per the prosecution”s case, Rekha’s neighbours at her house in Ambajogai heard her screams on the night of July 22, 2002, and found, upon entering the house, that her clothes had caught afire.
While the neighbours — who were Rekha’s colleagues in the police force — tried to douse the flames, Rajendra and his younger brother Suresh were mute spectators, the prosecution said.
At the civil hospital, in her dying declaration, Rekha told her colleagues that her husband, who had come back on leave on the same day, and her brother-in-law tied her hands and set her afire.
The apparent provocation was that her in-laws had told Rajendra that she was of bad character, and did not hand over her salary to them.
Rekha had told her superiors earlier too that she was being ill-treated by in-laws, who suspected her character. A week before the incident, they had not allowed her to participate in a district-level sports event, though she had been selected to represent the police department.
Rajendra and Suresh absconded soon after she was taken to hospital. Rekha passed away two days later; the two were arrested in 2005.
Suresh being a minor, his case was transferred to the juvenile justice board.
The sessions court convicted Rajendra in July 2008, against which he filed appeal in Aurangabad bench of High Court.
His defence was that her colleagues in the police department had recorded false dying declaration. Also, he was being implicated so that Rekha”s parents could get the post-death service benefits instead of him, he argued.
But Division bench of Justices P V Hardas and A V Potdar refuted this defence, observing that dying declaration was “unshakeable”, and upheld the life sentence for Rajendra in the order last week.
–via MSN India