A file picture of software professional Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni and his wife Anupama in happier times.
An Indian software professional and his wife were today held guilty of "serious child abuse" and sentenced to jail terms for 18 months and 15 months respectively.
Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni and his wife Anupama, who were arrested by the police last month, were convicted for gross or repeated maltreatment of their child/children by threats, violence or other wrong. They have a couple of days to go in for appeal.
"Oslo District Court has found an Indian couple guilty on several counts of child abuse. In the view of the Court, the couple deliberately burned their son’s leg with a hot spoon or similar object with the result that the child had burn marks measuring approximately 3 x 5 centimetres," an official statement said.
The Court said it has been proven that on one occasion the parents had even threatened to brand their son's tongue with a hot spoon.
"The Court also found that it had been proven that the parents had on several occasions hit the child with a belt or similar object and that they had on one occasion threatened to burn their son on his tongue with a hot spoon. The proven abuse took place over a period of six to seven months and therefore falls under section 219, first paragraph, of the Penal Code on repeated maltreatment.
The jail terms of 18 months for the father and 15 months for the mother were proposed by the prosecution.
"One of the parents received an unconditional prison sentence of 18 months, and the other an unconditional prison sentence of 15 months. This is in line with the sentences proposed by the prosecution. The verdict can be appealed to the Borgarting Court of Appeal," the statement said.
The counsel for the couple indicated that they will challenge the verdict.
"It has been proved that the couple has burnt their child with a hot spoon, apart from beating and threatening him," Kurt Lir, Head of Prosecution, Oslo Police Department, told PTI. He also said prosecution was "satisfied" with the Court verdict.
Reacting to the Court verdict, Indian officials in the Ministry of External Affairs said,"our embassy in Norway has been in touch with the Indian nationals involved in the case.
"Even during the course of their detention the Consular Officer has been in touch with them. We will continue to render necessary consular assistance and will be in touch with their lawyer," they said.