Mumbai: Husband, in-laws get 7 years for driving woman to suicide

The woman’s father had registered a case alleging that the family regularly tortured their daughter for money and jewellery; the woman jumped off her 28th floor flat on June 27, 2010, unable to bear any more ill-treatment

A man and his parents were convicted on Saturday for torturing his wife and driving her to suicide. The bride’s family had registered a case after their daughter committed suicide, alleging that the in-laws would harass their daughter for money and jewellery.

The judgement was delivered by Judge A S Shende of the special women’s court. The accused in the case are Jitendra Jethwani (25), husband of the deceased Nishi Soni, and his parents Diva (45) and Mulchand (60).

The trio were punished under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) for seven years, and 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) for three years of the Indian Penal Code.

Public Prosecutor Kalpana Hire, who examined 14 witnesses including Nishi’s family, said, “The sister-in-law, Sapna Jethwani, was acquitted because there was no evidence against her. Section 304(b) (dowry death) of the IPC was dropped because there was no proof in the allegation.

Nishi used to write a diary, but even in the diary she didn’t mention anything about any dowry. Nishi’s father told the court during examination that the main reason was dowry and that they used to harass his daughter and constantly ask for money and jewellery.”

Nishi’s father Nitin Soni had registered the case against the in-laws and the husband on the day of the suicide, alleging physical and mental harassment of his daughter for dowry.

In July the same year, Nitin filed a writ petition stating he was dissatisfied with the way Mulund police were investigating the case. In response, the High Court issued an order in October, transferring the case to Unit 7 of Crime Branch.

Troubled marriage
The couple got married in May 2009, after a relationship of 3-4 years. Nishi’s father Nitin Soni told the court that he gave a lot of gold and jewellery to his daughter; in addition, he ensured the wedding took place at one of the best venues available. Nishi shifted to her husband’s apartment in Runwal Pride, on LBS Marg in Mulund (West), where she stayed with her husband and in-laws.

After a few days of marriage, the in-laws started harassing Nishi physically and mentally for dowry, and ask for money from her, Nitin told the court. In October 2009, she returned to her father’s house after being fed up of the torture. Her husband later convinced her to come back.

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