Uthra murder case: Kerala man receives double life sentence for killing his wife with a cobra

The Kollam Extra Sessions Court on Wednesday imposed a double life sentence on Sooraj S Kumar (28) for the murder of his wife Uthra (25) by use a cobra to bite her in his sleep.

In a case described by the court as “rare of the few”, the convict was sentenced to life imprisonment on the charges of Articles 302 (murder) and 307 (attempted murder) as well as 10 years rigorous imprisonment under section 328 (causing harm by using poison) and seven years imprisonment under section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the IPC as well as a fine of Rs five lakhs.

The court of first instance stopped to impose the death penalty on the convict given his young age and lack of criminal history, stressing that there are opportunities for him to reform. However, the court made it clear that the convict would face prison terms of 10 years and 7 consecutive years before starting his double life sentence.

Kollam Rural investigating officer and former SP S Harishankar told reporters he was happy with the verdict. “The quantum of the sentence is decided by judicial discretion and has many factors to keep in mind. The court already has found the accused guilty on the four charges retained by the investigators and the prosecution. Our efforts stop there. We cannot comment on the amount of the penalty, ”he said.

At the same time, the victim’s mother, Manimeghalai, who has been following the proceedings from her home in Anchal in Kollam district, said she was not satisfied with the verdict as she expected that the court impose the death penalty on the convicted person. She added that the family would appeal the verdict.

Context of the case

The case dates back to May 7, 2020, when Uthra, a one-year-old mother with differing abilities, was found dead from a snake bite at her home in Anchal. The cobra, which bit her and later found her in the same room, allegedly inflicted the bite overnight as Uthra, her husband Sooraj and their child slept.

Although it was initially dismissed as a snakebite by local police, the fact that Utthra was bitten by a viper earlier on March 2, 2020 at her in-laws’ home, which forced her to be hospitalized, and a criminal complaint in her death by her parents forced senior police officials to launch a detailed investigation.

After a thorough investigation by Kollam Rural SP Harishanker, officers concluded that Sooraj, an employee of a private financial institution, had thoroughly plotted the murder of his wife Uthra by forcing a snake to bite her.

Police claimed Sooraj bought both the viper and the cobra from a snake handler with the intention of killing his wife and passing her off as a natural snakebite. Although the attempt to bite the viper in March 2020 failed because she was hospitalized on time, he managed to repeat the devious act with the cobra two months later. She was on treatment for more than 50 days in a hospital after the first snakebite.

According to the police version, the couple had a strained relationship and Uthra’s parents claimed that she was regularly harassed by the in-laws because of the dowry. The Kollam Crime Branch, which led the investigation, had filed a 1,000-page indictment in the case, detailing how Sooraj committed the murder, using scientific and circumstantial evidence.

Kerala teacher receives 29-year jail sentence for sexually assaulting student

A teacher was sentenced to 29 years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) by a special fast-track court for sexually assaulting a first-class student.

The court said the teacher’s offense was inhumane and barbaric.

“The convict’s evil act on an innocent 6.5-year-old girl certainly calls for severe punishment and so I decided to impose it on him,” the court said.

The child recounted the incident to his parents who filed a complaint.

The court said that a teacher is seen as the embodiment of knowledge, wisdom and fine qualities of life.

“Guru is a friend, a philosopher, a guide, a social engineer and a nation builder. In Indian philosophy, Guru occupies an exalted and envious position. Its influence is not limited to an individual but extends to families, institutions and educational establishments, in fact, in all spheres of life. He transmits knowledge, teaches the values ​​of life, guides and builds the nation itself, ”the court noted in the judgment.

According to the prosecution, the child, aged 6.5 years at the time of the facts, was molested in 2012 by the teacher while he was accompanying the students on a study trip from school.

Kerala: results of 16 other high-risk contacts of child who died from Nipah virus are negative

Health officials in Kozhikode, Kerala, breathed easily on Wednesday as samples from 16 other high-risk contacts of the 12-year-old Nipah virus the victim came back negative. So far, samples from 46 people who have had primary contact with the deceased and have shown symptoms have come back negative.

The development is a blow to the health service which acted quickly on the night of September 4 when samples from the 12-year-old boy, a resident of Chathamangalam panchayat, came back positive for the Nipah virus.

It was the second time in three years that the zoonotic virus with a high fatality rate was reported in Kozhikode. The boy succumbed to the infection on the morning of September 5. Health officials then embarked on an ambitious contact tracing exercise, adding up to 265 people who had primary and secondary contact with the deceased, in four days. Those on the high-risk list, a majority of whom were health workers, were transferred to the isolation ward at the Medical College and Hospital and monitored for symptoms. The others were in quarantine at their homes. A three-kilometer radius from the deceased’s home in Chathamangalam has been declared a containment area.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Wednesday: “Only 12 of 265 contacts are symptomatic. None of them have serious symptoms.

“Currently, 68 people are in isolation at the Medical College and Hospital. Those who test negative will undergo an additional three days of institutional quarantine. After that, they can go home if they can adhere to the quarantine protocols there, ”she added.

The Covid-19 vaccination program, which had been suspended in the Kozhikode district for 48 hours due to the Nipah virus epidemic, will resume Thursday in all areas, with the exception of neighborhoods declared containment zones in the Chathamangalam panchayat.

The minister added that all efforts to identify the source of the virus in the region are underway.