A special court here on Tuesday acquitted Sircilla Rajaiah, former Lok Sabha member of Warangal, of the charges of driving his daughter-in-law Sircilla Sarika to suicide and dowry harassment.
Rajaiah’s son Anil (who was the first accused in the case), mother Madhavi and another woman Sara alias Shakeera, all of whom faced the criminal case, were also acquitted of the charges.
Sarika (Anil’s wife), along with her three sons, eldest son Abhinav (7) and twins Ayaan (4) and Riyaan (4), were found charred to death in their two-storied house at Revenue Colony of Hanamkonda in the early hours of November 4, 2015.
Initially, a case under Section 174 (suspicious death) of Criminal Procedure Code was registered. Eventually, the investigation revealed that the ex-MP’s daughter-in-law committed suicide. The victim’s husband and mother-in-law were in the same house when the victims were found dead.
Based on the findings of the investigation, the Subedari police of Warangal commissionerate registered a criminal case against Anil, his parents and Sakeera and invoked Sections 498 (A) (dowry harassment) and 306 (abetment to suicide) read with 34 (actions by different persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code against them.
In the charge-sheet, police stated that Anil developed extra marital relationship with the fourth accused since 2010, and the victim questioned her husband over this. Anil’s parents used to support him in the matter resulting in physical and mental harassment to their daughter-in-law, the charge-sheet said.
Sarika complained to the police and some non-governmental organisations about this, after which, they were counselled and advised to live amicably. Eventually, she lodged a complaint with a woman police station of Hyderabad. A case was registered and charge-sheet was also filed.
She also filed a domestic violence case in Warangal court, which passed an order to pay ₹15,000 per month to meet expenses to look after her children. In compliance with the directions of the court, the accused gave the first floor portion to Anil’s wife and children while they lived on the ground floor.
Later, the accused shifted to another house in Hanamkonda. However, Rajaiah returned to the house after filing his nomination for Warangal Lok Sabha by-election in November 2015. Laywer L. Prasad Rao, who appeared for the ex-MP and other accused, contended that the prosecution failed to prove that the accused had inflicted acts of cruelty on the victim.
Mr. Prasad also argued that there was nothing to prove that the victim was physically tortured.