Kollam (Kerala): Is it rarest of the rare cases? Will the death sentence be awarded? These are the questions in the minds of all those who were following the Uthra murder case. In this sensational murder case, the victim’s husband, a snake handler and wildlife expert, was Monday convicted by a Sessions court here for killing his wife by using a cobra.
Besides holding the husband – Sooraj S Kumar – guilty of murder, Additional Sessions Judge-VI Manoj M also convicted him for poisoning, destruction of evidence and also attempt to murder for his first try at killing his then 25-year-old wife – Uthra – by using a cobra.
“Accused (Kumar) is produced in court. The accused is found guilty of the commission of offenses punishable under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 302(murder), 328 (poisoning) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),” the court said.
It also heard the convict and the prosecution on the quantum of sentence to be awarded, with the latter seeking capital punishment for him. The court listed the matter on October 13 for pronouncing the sentence.
Sooraj had killed his wife Uthra by letting a cobra bite her in her sleep in May last year. After the verdict was pronounced, State Police Chief Anil Kant told reporters that the case was ‘a shining example of how scientifically and professionally a case was investigated’.
Kant said that it was a difficult case, as there were no eyewitnesses. However, with the hard work and efforts of the investigating team led by SP Harishanker the guilt of the accused was established. He also told reporters that the accused was nailed by using forensic medicine, analysis of animal DNA and cyber data as well as an experiment using a dummy and a cobra snake to ascertain how the crime was committed.
SP Harishanker also spoke to the reporters. He said the convict’s Youtube and search history revealed the extent of research he had carried out on snakes. In fact, his search history revealed that when his wife was bitten by a viper in the first attempt at murder and was undergoing treatment in a hospital ICU, Kumar was busy searching for a cobra while waiting outside the ward.
“He was a snake handler and a wildlife expert, so he chose a weapon (snake) in which he was confident,” the officer told the reporters. “Sooraj wanted to remove Uthra from his life and at the same time wanted her property also. For that the only way was her accidental death, the officer said, explaining the motive behind the murder.
Meanwhile, the victim’s family welcomed the verdict and appreciated the work of the police and the prosecution. The victim’s mother told a news channel that the verdict will not bring her daughter back and therefore, she wants the harshest punishment of the land — death — for the convict. Uthra’s father and brother too said the most stringent punishment should be awarded to the convict.
Police had cracked the case following suspicion raised by Uthra’s family as it was the second time she suffered a snake-bite in three months.