Kerala Court snake bite murder case judgement: Accused Sooraj gets consecutive double life sentence by for killing his wife uthra

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Sooraj S Kumar, who was found guilty of murdering his wife, 25-year-old Uthra, by pushing a poisonous snake to bite her, has been awarded a double life sentence and followed by a fine of RS. 5 lakhs by a trial court. While delivering the judgement, Kollam Additional Sessions Court Judge M Manoj observed that the case was 'rarest of rare'. The court had found Sooraj guilty for committing offences under Indian Penal Code (IPC) such as murder (Section 302), attempt to murder (Section 307), causing hurt by means of poison (Section 328), and causing disappearance of evidence of offence (Section 201). Advocate G. Mohanraj led the prosecution in the case and had urged for a death sentence to be awarded to the accused arguing that it fulfilled the criteria of being the rarest of rare cases. He further asserted that such a sentence was in the public interest considering the gravity of the offence and that he had never sought a death sentence before for any case during his service. Reacting to the judgement, Manimeghala, the mother of Uthara said they are disappointed by the verdict as they wished capital punishment for the accused. “These are the flaws of the judiciary as there are loopholes. People get away using those loopholes. Had the extreme punishment given, it would have acted as a deterrent for others to desist from doing crimes. We will appeal,” said the grieving mother. However, Public Prosecutor G. Manoharan said the one reason which went in favour for the accused was the consideration given by the court on his age and a chance for repentance and had no track record of a criminal. “According to the court, the accused will have to first serve 17 years and then only the double life imprisonment will come into force. So technically speaking unless the government gives the accused a remission, for the rest of his life he will have to be in jail. If an appeal should be made, it will be taken up only after consulting with the government,” said the prosecutor.

This sensational, rarely heard crime, which came to be known as the Uthra murder case, was committed on May 7, 2020 at Sooraj's house at Anchal in Kerala's Kollam district. The crime branch wing of the state police carried out a detailed probe and even used a dummy to recreate the incident. The cobra that had bitten Uthra was 150 centimetre long, and the bite by such a snake would cause only a 1.7 or 1.8 cm-deep puncture on the human body. Investigators, who conducted the dummy experiment, established that Sooraj had held the snake's hood against Uthra's body, causing the puncture to go as deep as 2.3 cm and 2.8 cm. Sooraj made the first attempt to get a snake to bite Uthra on February 29, 2020. During the second attempt on March 2, 2020, Uthra was bitten by a viper, and admitted to a hospital in Thiruvalla for 56 days. She was recovering at Eram, in Anchal, when she received the fatal snakebite on the night of May 6. She died the next day. Suresh, a resident of Chavarukavu, Kalluvathukkal, turned approver in the case. He had sold the cobra to Sooraj. According to the police, Suresh had given Suraj the snakes. He first provided a poisonous viper for Rs 10,000. After the first attempt failed, Suresh supplied him a cobra for Rs 10,000.