In a very rare case, the Kollam Extra Sessions Court on Monday found Sooraj S Kumar (28) guilty of murdering his wife Uthra by having her bitten by a cobra. The accused was present in court when Judge M Manoj read the guilty verdict. The quantum of the sentence will be announced on October 13.
The prosecution asked the court to impose the death penalty on the accused, as the crime was “evil and horrific” in nature.
The case dates back to May 7, 2020 when Uthra (25), mother of a one-year-old child, was found dead from a snake bite at her home in Anchal, Kollam district in Kerala. The cobra that bit her and later found her in the same room reportedly inflicted the bite overnight as Uthra, her husband Sooraj and their one-year-old were sleeping.
Although it was initially dismissed as a snakebite by local police, the fact that Utthra was bitten earlier by a viper on March 2, 2020 at her in-laws which required hospitalization, and a complaint for foul play in his death by his parents forced senior police officials to launch a detailed investigation.
After a thorough investigation by Kollam Rural SP Harishanker, officers concluded that Sooraj, an employee of a private financial institution, had thoroughly plotted the murder of his wife Uthra by being bitten by a snake.
Police claimed Sooraj bought both the viper and the cobra from a snake master to kill his wife and make her look like a natural snakebite. Although the attempt to bite the viper in March 2020 failed because she was hospitalized on time, he managed to repeat the devious act with the cobra two months later. She was on treatment for more than 50 days in a hospital after the first snakebite.
According to the police version, the couple had a strained relationship and Uthra’s parents claimed that she was regularly harassed by the in-laws because of the dowry. The Kollam Crime Branch, which led the investigation, had filed a 1,000-page indictment in the case, detailing how Sooraj had committed the murder, using scientific and circumstantial evidence.