In a recent turn of events in connection with the 2011 rape and murder of a Kerala woman Soumya, the former Associate Professor of Forensic Medicine of the Thrissur Government Medical College, Dr Unmesh, has got a clean chit from the government.
During the trial in 2011, Unmesh created a furore in court when he said that he had conducted Soumya’s post-mortem and not Dr Sherly Vasu, the then Head of Department of Forensic Medicine, who was also a witness of the prosecution. A probe was initiated after Unmesh gave a statement which was in favour of the defence and not the prosecution.
The government then suspended Unmesh from service in November 2011 pending a department-level enquiry. There were also allegations that he may have made monetary benefits in the case. He was then slapped with a vigilance case.
The Health Department, following a department level enquiry, exonerated Dr Unmesh and clarified there were no discrepancies in the findings of the postmortem.
In 2017, the Thrissur Vigilance Court also cleared his name and said that he derived no pecuniary benefits from the case.
Twenty-three-year-old Soumya, who worked as a salesgirl, was returning home by Ernakulam-Shoranur passenger train on February 1, 2011. Govindachamy, her assailant, went to the ladies’ compartment where she was, robbed and attacked her. Soumya’s body was found in the forests near Vallathol railway station. She died five days later on February 6, after battling for her life in a hospital.
Govindachamy was convicted of rape and murder on October 31, 2011, and sentenced to capital punishment in November by a Thrissur fast-track court, which was upheld by the Kerala High Court.
In September 2016, the Supreme Court commuted Govindachamy death sentence to 7 years in the offence of murder. The court altered the murder charge to grievous assault charge. However, it upheld the Kerala High Court’s order awarding him a life term for the offence of rape.