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SC blow to Ilyasi

New Delhi, Aug. 22: The Supreme Court today paved the way for framing of murder charges against former TV serial producer Suhaib Ilyasi for the death of his wife Anju in 2000.

A bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and R. Banumathi dismissed Suhaib’s appeal challenging a recent Delhi High Court order directing the trial court to frame murder charges.

“We find no compelling reasons to interfere with the order passed by the high court,” the apex court said, rejecting the submissions of senior counsel Sushil Kumar that Anju had committed suicide by self-inflicted stab wounds.

“You (Suhaib) were living with her (Anju) and the children in the same house. What compelled her to inflict self injuries?” Justice Thakur asked Kumar.

The bench also refused to consider the plea that Suhaib be exempted from appearing before the trial court for framing of charges. It said no such liberty could be given.

The apex court, however, said the trial court shall conduct the trial uninfluenced by any adverse observations made against Suhaib.

Prior to the high court order, Suhaib was facing charges under Section 304B (dowry death) for which the minimum punishment is seven years in jail and the maximum life.

If convicted for murder, Suhaib will face a minimum punishment of a life term. The maximum could be death.

Earlier, Justice Indermeet Kaur of Delhi High Court had ruled: “The prima facie material collected by the prosecution justifies the framing of additional charges under Section 302 (murder) of IPC.

“The revision petition is disposed of with a direction to the trial court to frame additional charges under Section 302 of IPC,”

The high court had passed the order while deciding two cross petitions filed by Suhaib and his mother-in-law, Rukma Singh.

Rukma had sought inclusion of the additional charge of murder against Suhaib for the death of her daughter on January 11, 2000.

But Suhaib, facing trial for 14 years under relatively milder sections including dowry death, had moved the court against a decision of police to form a fresh medical panel to ascertain the nature of his wife’s death.

“The opinion of the newly-constituted medical board would in fact assist the court in coming to a conclusion as to whether death of the victim was suicidal or homicidal,” Justice Kaur had said, while dismissing his plea.

Suhaib had alleged that the setting up of the medical board was illegal as it was being done after filing of chargesheet and framing of charges for dowry death.

Additional public prosecutor Fizani Hussain had argued that setting up the medical board was part of the police’s power under the statute to carry out further investigation even after filing of the chargesheet.

Anju had been rushed to a hospital on January 11, 2000, with stab wounds allegedly received by her at her East Delhi residence. Suhaib, who had shot into the limelight after hosting the TV crime show India’s Most Wanted, was arrested on March 28, 2000. Charges were framed against him after Anju’s sister and mother alleged that he used to torture her for dowry.