A Kerala court has convicted his wife of murder and given her a rare punishment while she was sleeping with a cobra bite.
An Indian man who used a cobra and a snake to kill his wife has been given double life imprisonment by prosecutors in a “rare” case.
South Kerala state prosecutors said 28-year-old Suraj Kumar released the highly venomous Russell’s viper snake on his wife Uthra, which kept him in hospital for about two months.
When he recovered from his parents ’home, he found a cobra from a snake handler and threw it at his sleeping wife. Its poisonous bite killed a 25-year-old woman in May 2020.
Kumar was arrested from his home last year after Uthra’s parents raised suspicions, alleging that their daughter was being harassed for more dowry. The woman’s parents said Kumar tried to take control of her property after her death.
On Monday, a court in Kerala’s Kollam district convicted Kumar of killing and poisoning his wife, and using Russell’s viper to try to kill him before.
According to local media reports, Judge M Manoj on Wednesday sentenced the convict to two consecutive life sentences, but the prosecution did not accept the death sentence, considering his age and the scope for reform.
Kumar has not pleaded guilty but police say his phone records show he was in contact with snake handlers and watched videos of snakes on the internet before he was killed in Kollam in March last year.
After the cobra bit her, Kumar stayed in the room with Uthra and took her morning routine, warning the woman’s mother the next day, prosecutors said.
“The method of executing the death sentence and the plan to kill the accused Uthra in bed [the case] Rare falls into the rare category, “the public prosecutor, who wanted the death penalty.
The Hindustan Times quoted him as saying that snake handler Bhabha Suresh said it was possible that Kumar “gave pain to provoke the reptile to bite”.
Uthra was from a wealthy family but her husband, a bank employee, was not well. Their wedding involved a new car and a large dowry, including 500,000 rupees (about, 6,640).
According to media reports, Kumar’s family was charged with conspiracy after some gold from Uthra was found buried near his house a few days after the murder.
The Supreme Court of India has recently warned about the trend of snake bite killings as it has denied bail to a woman and her “boyfriend” accused of using cobras to kill her mother-in-law in northern Rajasthan in 2019.
The biggest challenge in the Kerala case was to prove the killing of the snake bite, Prosecutor G Mohanraj said, adding that a test was conducted in the court which showed the difference between natural and induced bite marks.
The court acquitted two defendants in similar cases in recent years after failing to prove that the venomous snake had been used as a “weapon of murder”, The Hindu reported.