The woman’s husband, however, refuted allegations that he had asked for dowry and said his wife was depressed.

A year after woman is found dead in Chennai family cry murder and police call it suicide
news Death Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 13:00

On May 16, 2016, Akanksha Raj was found dead in her apartment complex in Chennai. The 26-year-old woman, who hailed from Patna allegedly jumped to her death from the 9th floor of the Gem Grove Apartment in Kelambakkam.

Her family had alleged that she was pushed from the balcony by her husband after being harassed for dowry. The Kelambakkam police had then registered a case against Akanksha’s husband Praveen under IPC section 304(b) (dowry death). Praveen was, however, released on bail three months later.

It has been nearly a year since Akanksha’s death and her family now demands justice. Her brother Aman alleges that on the day she died, Akanksha had called him up and told him that her husband had assaulted her, demanding dowry.  She had made the call from her bedroom and Aman claims that he persuaded her to open the bedroom door, assuring her that nothing would happen.

But Aman says he had never imagined that it would be the last time he would be speaking to his sister. “At 12am, my brother-in-law called me and said, ‘Now see what happens’. Within 10 minutes, I got a call from my sister’s phone. A stranger said that my sister had fallen from the ninth floor,” Aman said.

Akanksha’s family believes that she was pushed from the balcony and did not kill herself.  

Akanksha, who had completed her MBA from Patna, got married to Praveen Kumar, an engineer on May 16, 2014. “We paid about Rs 10 lakhs in cash and we gifted him a car and sent many other things. In total, we spent about Rs 40 lakhs on the wedding hoping that my sister will be happy in her husband’s house,” claimed Aman.

But the dowry harassment began early into their marriage, he claims. “My sister and her husband were staying in Kolkata initially and every month, her husband used to send her back to Patna to get money from us. We used to give whatever we had,” he said.

Praveen, however, countered the allegations stating, "Does he have any proof for what he is saying? After marriage, we were living in Kolkata and I used to get leave for seven days once in six months. That is the time we both used to go home. They are just making up stories. I always used to accompany my wife. The times, she was not willing to come to my house, she used to go to her house. I have proof of all this which is our train or flight tickets."

He also added that he was earning enough money and did not demand for dowry from his wife’s family. "I was earning about Rs 1.4 lakh a month. They have stated that I asked for Rs 2 lakh the month she died. But why do I need money? I was taking care of my wife and her family. They were going to build a house and I was helping them," Praveen said.

Suggesting that his wife was depressed, the 31-year-old said, "It was not about that one day. For 10 days things were not fine. She was accumulating everything in her mind. There are many things but I cannot disclose everything as I have to present it in the court. But all I can say is I did not take a single penny from them. I have not got anything from them. I have worked hard for 12 years and earned my own money. She committed suicide because she was depressed. I have evidence, but would like to reveal it all in the court."  

And while Akanksha’s family insists that it is a case of murder and not suicide, the Kelambakkam police told The News Minute that the case is under trial at a court in Chengalpet. They also added that during their investigation they did not find any evidence to suggest that Akanksha was pushed from the balcony by her husband.

Alleging that the police did not investigate the case properly, Akanksha’s family moved the Madras High Court in December 2016, demanding a proper probe. “They just called it a suicide and left it. My sister’s husband was in prison for three months and now he is out on bail,” Aman said.

In an attempt to build a stronger case, Aman has now created a petition on change.org seeking call record details of calls made to him to and his family by Praveen. He alleges that despite numerous attempts to get the call record details from the service provider, RTI, TRAI and the Telecom Ministry, his efforts went in vain. 

 

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