SC upholds acquittal of doctor charged with murdering wife

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New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) Holding that the CBI hadfailed in establishing the guilt, the Supreme Court has upheldthe acquittal of an orthopaedic surgeon charged with murderingand dismembering the body of his wife in Belgium during theirhoneymoon 31 years ago.

A bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjarrejected CBI''s plea that Mahender Singh Dahiya had killed andchopped his wife Namita''s body with a butter knife as hesuspected her fidelity.

CBI''s case is that Dahiya murdered his wife Namita, aBritish national of Indian origin, on the intervening night ofMay 27 and 28, 1979 -- the very first night of their honeymoon-- in Room No 415, Hotel Arenberg, Brussels, Belgium.

The prosecution claimed that her body, which was cutinto several pieces with a butter knife, was found in thetrash of Belgium city which was identified by the family.

Dhaiya, however, insisted that Namita left him on herown as she wanted to lead her own independent life as theirmarriage was performed against her wishes.

As the offence took place in a third country,initially the Belgium authorities investigated the crime.

Thereafter, the Scotland Yard in London alsoparticipated in the investigation as Namita was a Britishcitizen and Dhaiya was keen on settling there with her help.

Namita was working as accounts trainee with the BBC, London.

Subsequently, the case was taken up by the CBI whichclaimed to have arrested the doctor allegedly practising in UPunder a pseudo name of Dr M Singh in Lalitpur village.

Ultimately, the trial court convicted Dhaiya on March1, 1999, 20 years after the alleged crime.

But the Delhi High Court acquitted him of chargesafter holding the CBI of "falsely implicating" him at thebehest of the girl''s parents. Aggrieved, the CBI had appealedin the apex court.

Dismissing the appeal, the apex court said the CBI wasnot able to conclusively establish that remnants of adismembered body actually belonged to Namita.

"We are of the considered opinion that there is noreliable evidence to indicate that the blood that wasrecovered from the bathroom of room no 415 definitelybelonged to Namita. It must be remembered that theonly drop of blood that was found was at the base of thebidet, in the bathroom.

"The bathroom would be used successively by differenttourists occupying the room. This apart, the very recovery ofthe blood stains from the bidet seems highly doubtful," thebench said pointing out that it was recovered on June 12,1979, several days after the killing.

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