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Court Tuesday set free a man who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court on charges of murdering his wife, saying there was insufficient evidence to link the accused to the crime.

Acquitting Tribhovandas Sadhu, a division bench said: “It is a fact that the deceased died of burn injuries. It is possible that the deceased may be unhappy in her matrimonial life. But, these two factors would not necessarily lead to a conclusion that the appellant set her afire and caused her death.”

The division bench opined that none of the factors considered by the trial court neither singularly nor collectively, had connected Sadhu with the offence and were insufficient to record a conviction.

“We do not find any other material on record, which would establish the nexus between the appellant and the offence, except that on earlier occasions, the deceased used to complain about the ill-treatment being meted out to her because of the appellant’s illicit relationship with a woman,” the court said.

Sadhu was convicted by a fast track court in Patan for harassing and later murdering his wife Ramila. The trial court had noted that Sadhu was involved in an illicit relationship and used to ill-treat his wife.

According to the first information report, Sadhu poured kerosene on his wife on Oct 16, 1991 and set her on fire. After Ramila’s father, Sitaramdas filed a complaint police registered a murder and harassment case.

Following the trial court’s decision, Sadhu challenged it in the high court. Advocate for the petitioner, B.C. Dave argued that the prosecution’s case depended on circumstantial evidence and it grossly failed to establish the nexus between the appellant and the offence.

He further argued that the trial court had recorded conviction on the basis of surmises and irrelevant factors and hence the appeal should be allowed.

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