Before going on vacation, the court had convicted her and had set October 30 as the date for pronouncement of punishment.
Earlier this month, the high court had set aside a trial court judgment of May 15, 2002 that acquitted the woman from the charges of poisoning to death her husband’s five-year-old nephew Balu and mother-in-law Laxmibai at Borkini village of Selu tehsil in Parbhani district.
Assistant public prosecutor Sanjay Salgare said, “Finding the woman guilty of murdering her mother-in-law and the child, and also of attempting to kill her husband by poisoning cooked food, the high court convicted her. While going on leave, the court had directed the Parbhani police to produce the convict before the court on October 30 for pronouncement of sentence. On Monday, the division bench has slapped her life imprisonment for the double murder and five years jail term for attempt to murder.”
The double murder took place on June 22, 2001. The woman, Ayodhyabai, was arrested and a case was registered against her following a complaint by her husband Bhagwan Musale. Musale had stated that Ayodhyabai did not like him and had not wanted to marry him. He said she had poisoned his food to get rid of him.
Around a year later, the Parbhani sessions court gave Ayodhyabai the benefit of doubt and acquitted her. Musale challenged the acquittal in the high court.
The division bench comprising Justice T V Nalawade and Justice A M Dhavale ruled, “Considering the evidence in entirety, we find that it was not a case of accidental poisoning but a deliberate poisoning. We do not agree with the casual findings recorded by the sessions judge.”
Ayodhyabai was 18 years old in 2001 and was allegedly married against her will to Musale, then 22, about two months before the incident.
She tried to murder her husband by poisoning the food she had cooked on the evening of June 21, 2001 but Balu and Laxmibai fell victims to the plot. Musale took one bite of the food, found it sour and spat it out. He soon gargled his mouth. Balu and Laxmibai began showing symptoms of poisoning and died the same night at the civil hospital in Mantha.
An analysis of the viscera concluded that the duo had died of poisoning and that the substance put in the food was organochloro insecticide Endosulfan (Thiodan).