A court in Kerala on Wednesday imposed a double life sentence on Sooraj S Kumar for murdering his wife using a cobra last year, The Indian Express reported.

On Monday, the Kollam Additional Sessions Court found the 28-year-old guilty and described the crime as “rarest of the rare”.

At Wednesday’s hearing, the court said that Kumar will have to serve two jail sentences of 10 and seven years consecutively before starting his double life sentence.

The court announced the quantum of punishment based on the charges of Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder). He was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment under Section 328 (causing harm using poison) and was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment under Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence).

The court did not accept the prosecution’s demand for death penalty for the man as he was young and had no past criminal record. The court said that “there are opportunities for him to reform”.

The additional sessions judge also imposed a fine of Rs 5.85 lakh on the convict, his lawyer told PTI.

The murder

The police said that the accused had “hired” snakes twice from a handler named Suresh. 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, Kumar again “hired” a cobra for Rs 10,000.

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

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

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

Kerala Director General of Police Anil Kant had said that the investigating team used the DNA of the snake and other forensic evidence to solve the case.