8888677771 | In Doctor Suicide Case, Court Acquits Husband Citing Benefit Of Doubt

Prosecution failed to prove on record the abetment of suicide charge, the court said (Representational)

New Delhi:

The Saket Court in Delhi recently acquitted a doctor, whose wife had allegedly died by suicide, giving him the benefit of the doubt citing inconsistency in the statement of prosecution witnesses.

The woman, who was also a doctor, had died in August 2013, within seven years of marriage.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Vishal Pahuja acquitted Paras Khanna after considering the submissions, evidence, facts and circumstances of the case.

The court said that in view of the material inconsistencies in the testimony of the prosecution witnesses and due to the lack of cogent evidence lead on the record, the court is of the view that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The evidence coming on record entitles the accused to the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, the accused Paras Khanna is hereby acquitted of the charges levelled against him in the present case,” ASJ Pahuja said in the judgment passed on September 27.

The court also said that the prosecution has failed to establish that the accused caused harassment or cruelty to the woman in order to meet the demands of dowry. Hence, the presumption of law under Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act does not apply.

Further, the prosecution has also failed to prove on record the abetment of suicide by the accused as none of the acts of the accused falls under the situations listed under Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code, the court said.

“Hence, the essential ingredients of Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code are also not made out against the accused,” the court said in the judgement.

The court said that the contradictions appearing in the testimony of material prosecution witnesses as well as the unrebutted and uncontroverted depositions of defence witnesses are sufficient to discharge the onus of the accused and therefore the accused can be said to have successfully rebutted the presumption of law.

On  August 13, 2013, the Delhi Police received information about a woman’s suicide from the AIIMS Trauma Centre, New Delhi.

The woman, identified as Dr Varnika, was shifted to AIIMS Trauma Centre where she was declared dead.

On preliminary inquiry, it was found that the woman married Dr Paras Khanna in November 2012 and the information was communicated to Sub Divisional Magistrate, Vasant Kunj who inspected the spot.

On August 14, 2013, the SDM conducted the proceedings under section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and, on his instructions, an autopsy was done.

The SDM recorded the statement of the woman’s father, on the basis of which the present FIR was filed.

The court framed the charge for the offences punishable under sections 498A (harassment for dowry), 304B (dowry death) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and in alternate under section 306 of the IPC against accused Paras Khanna, who pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

Accused Shalini Khanna was discharged from the present matter vide the same order dated November 25, 2014.

The father of the woman stated that his daughter married Paras Khanna on November 18, 2012. From the very first day of marriage, his daughter was harassed for bringing less and insufficient dowry, he alleged.

Paras Khanna, his mother Shalini Khanna and his sister Parul Khanna used to demand dowry and harass his daughter. he further claimed.

He said that in January 2013, Dr Varnika, after getting frustrated, left her matrimonial house and went to a temple. After hearing this from the accused, he and his wife came to Delhi, where Paras Khanna allegedly abused them, he said, adding that he went to his younger daughter’s home with Dr Varnika.

Paras Khanna visited the complainant and admitted his mistake and said that he would not repeat his mistakes, the complainant said, addind that he and his family sent Dr Varnika back to her husband’s home. But she was again harassed by the accused and his family, he said, adding that his daughter was told by her in-laws that they were expecting a luxury car in dowry.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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