Theory That His Wife Died Of Wounds From Kitchen Knife Could Not Be Proved, Says HCAamir.Khan2@timesgroup.com
From the state’s decision to not challenge the trial court acquitting Suhaib Ilyasi of the charges of cruelty and causing a dowry death to an “inexplicable” and “erroneous” report of the five-member medical panel constituted to give its opinion on the death of Ilyasi’s wife, Anju in January 2000, Delhi high court, while acquitting the accused of murdering his wife on Friday, explained why it decided that the prosecution had not proved its theory that the woman had died of fatal wounds caused by a knife attack.
An important reinterpretation of testimony involved that of Ilyasi’s personal security officer, a key witness. He had entered the room where the stabbing had taken place and recalled Anju Ilyasi’s conversation with her husband. He said that the dying woman said she had “committed a mistake”. While the persecution argued that Anju was ruing that her marriage to Ilyasi had been a mistake, the judges felt that her statement supported the theory of suicide.
“What comes across is that the deceased regretted her impulsive reaction in stabbing herself,” Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel noted. On coming to this conclusion, they also relied on the PSO’s statement that Anju, on the way to AIIMS, had told her husband, “Suhaib, mujhe bacha lo.” Considering this, the bench said that interpreting the “mistake” as the persecution had done “constitutes a stretching of evidence to the point of incredulity with no such suggestion coming from the side of the prosecution”.
The court did not reject the testimonies of Anju’s brother and father revealing the deep love that the Ilyasi couple shared, but was not amenable to the testimonies of Anju’s two sisters and mother that the murder was related to cruelty and dowry. It pointed out that the prosecution not only did not prove these charges, but also had not challenged the acquittal of Ilyasi of these charges by the trial court.
The court also said that the five-member medical board had come to a unanimous opinion that the evidence pointed at homicide, but its report had “glaring factual errors” and was based on “faulty analysis, erroneous or absent facts”.
Among the “inexplicable” errors, the court said the first was “that neither the post-mortem report nor photographic printouts made available depict the path/track taken by two stab wounds on the abdomen”. Second, there was no “scientific finding mentioned in the post-mortem report that can be considered the basis of the conclusion as to which injury is inflicted first and which injury in inflicted later”.
The trial court recognised that Anju appeared happy and in good spirits when visiting her father on the evening of January 10, 2000, though upset with Ilyasi. Her being in good spirit did not detract from the possibility of her trying to kill herself, the court said. “A number of factors might contribute to a person committing suicide,” it noted.