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HC upholds man's life term for murder of daughter-in-law, granddaughter

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: January 24, 2019  | 19:33 IST

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has upheld the life term awarded to a man by a trial court for the murder of his daughter-in-law and newborn granddaughter, saying he had killed the woman as she had resisted his "lustful overtures" and did not even spare the baby in his rage. A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Manoj Kumar Ohri however set aside the lower court's order that the convict, Arshad Ali, be not released on remission till he completes 28 years of actual incarceration and said that such a direction can be issued by the high court or the Supreme Court. The bench modified the trial court's decision by directing that Ali will not be released till he completes 25 years of incarceration and disposed of his appeal challenging his conviction and sentence. The high court upheld his conviction relying on witness statements, including that of his then eight-year-old son who had seen him strangulating the woman and the baby, and the forensic evidence placed on record by the prosecution. The bench said that based on statements of the witnesses, including the convict's wife and neighbours, he "comes out as a licentious character, who lusted for his own daughter-in-law and desired to establish a physical relationship with her". This was apparently resisted by the young hapless girl (daughter-in-law) aged 22-23 years, who had delivered a girl child barely 20-22 days before the incident, while her husband was still in jail, it said. "This had apparently enraged the appellant (convict) to the point that he strangulated his daughter-in-law within the four walls of her matrimonial home. The appellant did not even spare the tiny baby and strangulated her too in a cold blooded manner," the court noted in its verdict. The bench said the facts and circumstances, proved that he had sufficient motive to commit the crime "which has been amply proved by the prosecution on the basis of the testimonies of independent witnesses and the circumstantial evidence brought on record". It said that simply because "there was no eye witness to the lustful overtures made by the appellant towards his daughter-in-law is not reason enough for this Court to disbelieve the said evidence, which when taken together, clearly establishes that the appellant had resented Nagma for not submitting to his sexual desire which had provoked him to commit such a heinous offence". The bench also said that the convict had given contradictory versions of the incident at different points in time, "each one more implausible than the other", and therefore, his defence "did not ring true and the same is unbelievable". Ali had on different occasions shifted the blame of the crime on to his estranged wife and his other sons, including the victim's husband who was in jail. Rejecting his defence, the high court said, "It has been successfully established by the prosecution that he was disreputable and had an evil eye on his own daughter-in-law, a young girl of 22-23 years. "Prior to the date of the incident, the appellant had made sexual overtures towards her. All this had happened within the four walls of the appellant's own home and that too in the absence of his son, husband of the victim, who was incarcerated at that time." The bench further observed that when the woman "resisted the depraved acts of the appellant, he had strangulated her and did not stop at that. He also proceeded to strangulate his 22 days old granddaughter, without any remorse." The high court noted that Ali had also threatened to kill his then eight-year-old son, who witnessed the incident, if he told anyone the truth. PTI HMP SKV SA

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