The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dowry stink in medic death

New Delhi, June 18: Twenty-four-year-old Kajal Sharma, a final year student at the Calcutta National Medical College, got married on January 29. Four months later, she was found dead at her in-laws’ Delhi home with a dupatta strung around her neck.

Kajal’s father, M.. Sharma, repents not trusting his instincts. The chief engineer with Projects and Development India Limited was not in favour of marrying his daughter to Anand Kumar Singh, an unemployed doctor who had done his MBBS in Russia, but gave in to constant pleading from the in-laws.

On June 9, Kajal was found dead at her in-laws’ residence on the PUSA Agriculture Institute campus in southwest Delhi. She was sitting on the floor, a dupatta coiled around her neck and tied to a door’s handle, Sharma said. There were bruises on her body.

Sharma refuses to believe his daughter committed suicide, as the in-laws have claimed. “They killed my daughter in a planned manner. How can she hang herself from a door’s handle which was just 3 feet above the floor level'” he asked.

Kajal’s father-in-law B.B. Singh, who is the head of the genetic department at the agriculture institute, his wife Kanak Lata and Anand were arrested on June 13. The Sharmas have filed a dowry death complaint.

Kajal got engaged to Anand on July 6, 2001 and the wedding was held at the Singhs’ hometown Varanasi on January 29.

“They had earlier asked for a Toyota Qualis but we said we could not afford it,” said Sharma, who spent Rs 7 lakh on the wedding of his only daughter. But after the wedding, Singh and his wife started harassing Kajal with demands for a Qualis. She was not allowed to visit her parents in Baroda and phone calls were monitored, Sharma alleged. “She would often say just one line, ‘Papa apne galat shaadi kar di’.”

Initially, Kajal’s in-laws tried to stop her from going to Calcutta though she had to prepare for examinations in May. Finally, she went in March along with Anand. She had to move out of the college hostel and rent a flat so that both could live together. Sharma alleged that there, too, Anand did not allow her to study, often throwing her books and forcing her to cook. Kajal returned to Delhi on June 1.

Around 7 pm on June 9, Anand asked his brother-in-law Lokesh Sharma to come home. Lokesh arrived to find his sister dead. He was handed a photocopy of what the Singhs claimed was a suicide note. Lokesh called his father in Baroda.

Singh also spoke to Sharma and told him Kajal had committed suicide because she did not do well in her exams. He also claimed on phone that she had not held them responsible for the suicide, Sharma said.

A city court yesterday rejected the bail plea of the three accused. Singh, Kanak Lata and Anand have been booked for harassment for dowry, breach of trust and dowry death. But Sharma is afraid they will try to influence the probe.

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