FPJ Legal: Bombay HC denies relief to army man who killed wife to marry sister-in-law

The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Nitin Borkar on Thursday upheld the conviction and life sentence imposed on an army man for killing his wife to get married to his sister-in-law (wife's sister). The bench noted that the man doesn't deserves any leniency as he has deprived his children from the love of their mother as well as father since he is now convicted.

The bench was seized with an appeal filed by Akbar Khan (37) challenging his conviction under murder and criminal conspiracy charges and the life sentence imposed on him by a sessions court in Nashik.

Khan, a hawaldar posted at the Deolali Camp, Nashik was arrested in September 2012 after his wife Afshana was found unconscious at their army residence. The doctors at army hospital within the Deolali Camp had declared Afshana dead and had even informed the civil police since she had certain "unusual" abrasions on her neck and mouth.

The police having received the information, called Khan, who was on duty. However, he didn't turn up citing a petty reason that his bicycle was punctured, the police report said. During investigation, the police checked Khan's call data records (CDR) and verified that he was constantly in touch with his sister-in-law, Sitara.

During the probe, the cops learnt that Khan had an intimate relationship with Sitara and had eliminated Afshana to marry her.

Having scrutinized the testimonies of at least 20 witnesses in the case, the bench led by Justice Jadhav found that the case against Khan was premised on 'circumstantial evidence' and that the 'chain of sequences' nailed Khan.

"The circumstances clearly indicate that Khan's wife died homicidal death at his hands. The act was premeditated and sketched in such a way as to camouflage the death as must have taken place in the course of commission of theft," Justice Jadhav said.

"However, the entire episode points towards Khan's guilt and the appeal filed by him deserves to be dismissed. His motive of the was to eliminate his wife in order to be able to marry his sister in-law i.e. Sitara – sister of the deceased," the bench noted.

The bench further said that it wasn't necessary for Khan to kill Afshana for marrying Sitara.

"The question remains as to whether it was necessary to eliminate his wife and deprive the children of their mother’s love and care at such a tender age. In fact, children have lost love of their father also and hence, it is clear that the accused had ignored his children due to the smoke screen of love and hence Khan deserves no leniency in the eyes of law," Justice Jadhav said.

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