A 27-year-old man Shaikh Rafiq Abdul Gaffoor, his parents and younger brother, will have to spend rest of their lives behind bars as the Bombay High court upheld the conviction handed down to them for setting Rafiq's wife on fire as she opposed of him getting remarried.
A division bench of justice VM Deshpande and justice SS Shinde upheld the life sentence of Rafiq, his parents, Abdul Gafoor, 57, Ammenabai, 53, and brother, Rasheed, 23. As per the prosecution case, the accused Rafiq and the deceased Farheen, had married in 2003. However, over the years since the deceased was not able to conceive, her husband and in-laws were ill-treating her and wanted her to move out of the house. So that Rafiq could remarry.
On October 27, 2006, Rafiq and Farheen got into an argument. The family poured kerosene and set her ablaze. A neighbour Ruksana Patel, who saw smoke coming out of the house rushed to the spot and noticed the four accused trying to save Farheen by pouring water.
The police was informed, who took the victim to the hospital where she gave a dying declaration naming all the four accused. The police arrested the convicts and charged them for murder and dowry harassment.
During the trial, the prosecution examined seven witnesses including the deceased family members, doctors and policemen. The trial court, accordingly accepting the evidence convicted them for all the charges.
This order was challenged in the High Court in appeal.
The accused denied all charges and claimed that the dying declaration was not recorded properly as the victim was not in a condition to give a statement. The court, after hearing all the arguments and going through the evidence noted that the prosecution had proved the case against the convicts beyond reasonable doubt and accordingly dismissed the appeal.