Monday, July 15, 2024

Decade later, man acquitted of dowry-related suicide charges in AIIMS doctor’s case

In a turn of events, a Delhi court has acquitted Paras Khanna, a doctor, of a dowry-related suicide charges more than a decade after his wife, Varnika, tragically took her own life in August 2013 within the premises of AIIMS.

The court ruled that the prosecution had “miserably failed” to substantiate the allegations of harassment leading to suicide.

An FIR was registered against Khanna under Sections 304 B (dowry death) and 498 A (subjecting a woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code.

The prosecution’s case was based on an FIR filed by Varnika’s father, who alleged that his daughter had suffered harassment for dowry at the hands of her husband and in-laws since their marriage in November 2012.

However, Additional Sessions Judge Vishal Pahuja found glaring inconsistencies in the testimony of prosecution witnesses and a lack of compelling evidence.

“The prosecution has miserably failed to prove on record that the deceased was harassed by the accused during her lifetime, which might have driven her to commit suicide,” the court said.

It further said the evidence available entitled the accused, to the benefit of the doubt and noted that the writings and letters left behind by the deceased revealed that she had no complaints against her husband and showed signs of affection from him prior to her demise.

The court delved into Varnika’s personal writings, notably her diary, which indicated her deep attachment to someone else before her marriage and her inability to forget her past.

The court inferred that she may have been burdened by feelings of guilt for not living up to her own or others’ expectations, possibly contributing to her fragile mental state.

In light of these findings, the court ruled that the circumstances did not point to the guilt of Khanna.

It emphasised the well-known maxim that “circumstances do not lie,” contrasting this with the possibility of misleading statements made by individuals.

Hence, Khanna was acquitted of all charges in the case.

The court’s order also negated the prosecution’s additional charge of abetment to suicide against the accused.



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