A 28-year-old man in Kerala has been convicted of murdering his wife by unleashing a deadly Cobra snake on her bed while she was sleeping in what the court has termed as the “rarest of rare” cases.
The additional sessions court in Kollam district of the state will pronounce the quantum of punishment in the case on Wednesday. The prosecution has sought capital punishment.
This was the culprit Sooraj's second attempt to murder his wife, after having failed in his first with a venomous viper earlier in February 2020. His wife Uthara was hospitalised for a month after she was bitten by the viper but succumbed to the cobra's lethal bite in May 2020.
During the investigation the police found that both snakes were procured from a local snake handler Suresh, who later turned an approver. He also admitted to training Sooraj to handle the snake.
The SIT reconstructed the murder scene by capturing on video the behaviour of a real Cobra released on a bed where a dummy was used as the victim. The video was submitted in the court as evidence and played a crucial role in the case, said prosecutor G Mohanraj. “It was a macabre crime quite unheard of. It was a well-planned and thought-out crime, and all evidence was strong that is why we sought capital punishment.”
Investigations revealed that Sooraj wanted to get rid of Uthara, take her money and gold and marry someone else, the police had said.
Kerala DGP Anil Kant praised the court’s decision. He said this was one of the rarest cases in which the accused had been found guilty based on circumstantial evidence.
"It's one of the shining examples of how scientifically and professionally a murder case was investigated and detected," he told the media.
He congratulated the investigation team for its strenuous efforts in analysing forensic evidence, fibre data, DNA of the animal and other evidence to crack the case.
The Supreme Court had also observed in the course of a hearing last week that a new trend of people bringing poisonous snakes from snake charmers and killing a person through snake bite is becoming common in Rajasthan.
It appears that this is happening in other states as well.