A clip of the CCTV footage of a retired Hyderabad High Court judge, his wife and son allegedly manhandling their daughter-in-law has gone viral on the social media, giving a new twist to the six-month-old dowry harassment case.
The video shows Sindhu Sharma being dragged and pushed by the trio even as her two daughters were watching in horror. The younger one, then one-and-a-half-years-old, is seen trying to move towards her mother but was taken away by her father.
The 30-year-old woman released the CCTV footage, alleging that Nooty Ramamohana Rao, his wife Nooty Durga Jayalakshmi and their son Nooty Vashishta resorted to violence against her.
Sindhu Sharma, who had married Vashisht in 2012, filed a case of domestic violence and harassment for dowry against him and her in-laws in April this year.
The CCTV footage was apparently of the night of April 20 at the former judge's house in the posh Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad. She was subsequently admitted to a corporate hospital with medical records mentioning scratches and bruises on her chest, forearms and shoulder.
@mkatju there is some error in selecting good judges of moralRT @panditjipranam: In the video you can see the retired Chief Justice of Tamil Nadu Justice Nooty Ram Mohan Rao bashing and manhandling his daughter in law with the support of his wife and son. pic.twitter.com/E7LTVoXMy0— aparna (@ntyaga) September 21, 2019
Later she went back to her parents' house and filed a case of dowry harassment against her husband and in-laws.
On her complaint, the Central Crime Station registered a case against Rammohan Rao, his wife Lakshmi and their son Vashishta, charging them under sections 498-A (punishment for subjecting a married woman to cruelty), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code and Dowry Prohibition Act.
Subsequently, she got custody of both her daughters. Backed by women's organisations, she staged a protest in front of her in-laws' house and got custody of her younger daughter. Later, at the High Court's intervention, she got the custody of the elder daughter as well.
The video has surfaced a couple of days before the next hearing in the case. Police said they have not received any videos but their request for permission to search the former judge's house is likely to be heard by the court next week.
Sindhu made the video public after Vashishta filed for divorce. She claimed that she has more such videos.
She has said that she is ready to give another chance to her husband provided he lives separately with her and the children.
According to an affidavit filed in the court, the retired judge's family has denied the allegations of domestic violence and dowry harassment. They claimed that Sindhu Sharma attempted to commit suicide twice. They said they had to pull and restrain her from consuming a bottle of poison she was carrying.
The family also claimed that she wanted them to divide the property and was making other unreasonable demands.
Ramamohana Rao was a senior judge at the Hyderabad High Court in 2016. He retired in 2017 while serving at the Madras High Court.