On Monday, a district and sessions court in the city acquitted Rohit, now 36, of all charges after concluding that Amrita Pathak’s death was accidental.
The judge, Avnish Saxena, relied on crucial bits of evidence — Amrita’s statement to the doctor before her death, in which the 26-year-old had pointed to a fire accident, and the lack of proof indicating suicide.
“The evidence shows this was an accidental death and not committal of suicide by the deceased… Rohit is thus acquitted from the charge of abetment to suicide. He is on bail and he need not surrender,” the order read.
The couple had been married for seven years and had a child, who was five years old, when the incident took place at their home in Mamura village, Sector 66.
On October 1, 2013, Rohit’s counsel told the court he was at his office in Noida, when he got to know about the fire. He rushed back to his house and took Amrita to the Jagdamba Hospital in Sector 66. She was referred to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, where she succumbed to 85% burn injuries on October 22. Her medical report said the cause of death was “antemortem burn injuries caused by a flame of fire”.
Three days later, Amrita’s brothers Manoj and Jay Prakash Dubey – who lived at the family’s hometown in Kushinagar – filed a complaint against Rohit at the Sector 58 police station in Noida. They alleged that their sister had been forced to self-immolate as Rohit was demanding Rs 3 lakh and some jewellery in dowry.
Cops registered a complaint under IPC Section 306 (abetment of suicide) and arrested Rohit on October 6. He was currently out on bail.
Rohit pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges and said that Amrita’s brothers had demanded Rs 14 lakh from him to settle the matter before filing the complaint.
During the hearings, several witnesses corroborated Rohit’s sequence of events on the day Amrita was injured.
Key among them was a statement by Dr Shalu, who had treated Amrita at the Safdarjung Hospital. The doctor said before the court that Amrita had told her she got burnt “due to an accident while cooking, probably due to a gas leak”.
The caretaker of the builder where the couple lived, Ramnath Prasad, also told the court that he was among the first to rush to the site of the incident. “I heard Amrita asking people to call her husband. I informed Rohit, after which he took her to a hospital around 11am,” Prasad said.
In its ruling, the district and sessions court judge noted in the ruling that the matter was an “accidental death due to gas leakage, which was unsuccessfully shaped as a suicide” and that the prosecution had “failed to bring home the guilt of the accused”.
The judge also said the allegations were found to be “untrustworthy” without any material evidence.
Reacting to the order, defence counsel Sarita Malik said on Wednesday that the case was an attempt to extract money from Rohit. “My client suffered a lot due to this false accusation.”
Rohit too said: “I had trust in the judiciary, and I believed that, sooner or later, I will get justice. Justice has prevailed.”
The prosecution, represented by district government counsel Brahamjeet Bhati, told TOI on Wednesday that the allegation of seeking money from Rohit was “baseless” but admitted that Amrita’s statement to the doctor had “weakened” the case against the accused.