A court in Kerala on Monday held a man guilty of murdering his wife by getting her bitten by a cobra, NDTV reported.

An additional sessions judge in the state’s Kollam district, while convicting the man, described the crime as “rarest of the rare”. The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Wednesday.

The police said that the accused, 28-year-old Sooraj, had “hired” snakes twice from a handler named Suresh, according to The News Minute. In the first attempt, he allegedly got a viper to bite his wife, 25-year-old Uthra, in March 2020. The wife had reportedly been living with disabilities.

After being bitten by the viper, Uthra was bedridden for 52 days and she underwent a plastic surgery. According to the police, when she got back home, Sooraj again “hired” a cobra for Rs 10,000.

Uthra died due to the second snake bite in May 2020. The police arrested Sooraj on May 24, 2020, and charged him with murder.

Later, the police also filed a first information report against some of Sooraj’s family members under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to domestic violence and conspiracy, Bar and Bench reported.

Sooraj reportedly later confessed to the murder and said that he committed it for financial gain.

Kerala Director General of Police Anil Kant said that the case was “one of the shining examples of how scientifically and professionally a murder case was investigated and detected”.

He said that the investigating team used the DNA of the snake and other forensic evidence to solve the case.

The police had made the snake handler, Suresh, an approver in the case, The News Minute reported.

In September 2021, the police conducted a “dummy” test, in which they recreated the scene of the crime and saw how the snake would have bitten Uthra.