The Bombay High Court has set aside the conviction and life sentence imposed on a man for murdering his pregnant wife after observing that the prosecution has failed to prove its case and benefit of doubt has to be given to him.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice V K Tahilramani and Justice A S Gadkari was hearing an appeal filed by one Ajit Borade challenging a sessions court order of January 2009 convicting him for murder and harassment of his wife Usha and awarding him life imprisonment.
The prosecution case was that Ajit and Usha, who got married in May 2005, developed differences after Usha came to know that Ajit was having an affair with another woman.
According to the prosecution, while Usha asked her husband to end the affair, Ajit wanted to separate and marry the other woman.
The prosecution had alleged that Ajit poured kerosene on his wife and set her on fire on June 1, 2007. Usha, who was 28 weeks pregnant at the time, sustained severe burn injuries and died in the hospital.
Ajit, in his defence, claimed that the fire in his house was because of a short-circuit and that he himself had sustained burn injuries while trying to save his wife.
The bench after perusing the case held that the prosecution has not been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt its case against Ajit.
“The evidence of the close relatives of the deceased Usha discloses that the deceased and the appellant were leading a happy married life and, therefore the motive as suggested by prosecution gets diluted. In such circumstances, we find that the possibility of short-circuit cannot be ruled out in the present case. We are, therefore, of the considered opinion that the appellant is entitled for benefit of doubt,” the court said.