'Give Iron Woman award to my mom, aunt'

Man demands payback for 9 years of suffering in dowry case

“I was sent to the torture cell for 10 days. I have been beaten black and blue. I still have scars on my arms,” said Munish Dalal, remembering his days in the police lock-up.

Dalal was acquitted by a Noida court on March 1 after being accused by his fiance, Nisha Sharma, in a dowry case — an ordeal he, his mother Vidya and aunt Savita Sharma had to bear for nine long years.

Sharma, a resident of Noida, was in the headlines in May 2003 after she refused to marry Dalal for allegedly demanding Rs 2 lakh and a car as dowry on the day of the wedding.
“The whole thing was planned. Then we got to know that she was already married. Her father knew that we may reject the marriage if we came to know about her history. So on the wedding day when we discovered this, we started to leave. Suddenly, the media and the police came. I was arrested and was sent to jail for two months,” Dalal said.

According to Dalal, on the first day in custody, he was beaten by police and was forced to sign on a blank paper.

“It happened so fast. I could not gather what was going on. My mother, who was 59 then, was about to retire after her 36 years of service as a senior teacher in a government school. Her pension was also halted. My brother, who owned a shop, was scared due to regular harassment by the goons of Sharma’s father,” said Dalal.

“My brother had to close his shop. For the last nine years, our family has been surviving on the salary of my sister-in-law,” said Dalal, who was about to become a permanent employee in a government company on the month of the incident.

Dalal said an affidavit was filed in court, in which Sharma’s husband Navneet Rai agreed to have married her in a temple.

“After two months, I finally got bail, that too from Allahabad High Court. Then I met Rai, who also seemed to be confused about the turn of events. Subsequently, Sharma’s father filed a case of fraud against him and sent him to jail. Sharma’s father also refused to accept his daughter’s marriage with Rai,” said Dalal.

On the case being stretched for nine years with umpteen number of hearings, he said his elderly mother and aunt had to travel from Vikaspuri to Noida every time there was a hearing.

“The distance comes to 150 km. My mother is now 69 and my aunt is 75. They did not deserve so much harassment for no fault of theirs. Sharma’s father must have appeared in the court hearing only nine times in nine years. Nobody from his family came on the day this judgement came,” Dalal said.

His family was socially isolated, with friends, relatives and even neighbours distancing themselves.

“Now everyone has changed their views and they are congratulating me. But in all these nine years, my reputation, my career and the financial blow were too much to handle. I don’t know how each member of my family survived this,” Dalal said. He is still discussing with his lawyer about his plan of action regarding filing a case against Sharma’s family.
‘Don’t want to be a hero’

“I don’t want to be a hero. I want to live a normal life. Whatever my lawyer tells, I will do it. The ‘Iron Woman’ award that was given to Sharma after this incident should be taken back and be given to my mother and aunt,” Dalal added.

D D Sharma, the father of the woman, is planning to go for an appeal in the court.
“The five-bench member of the Supreme Court, which includes Chief Justice Kapadia, clearly mentioned that hearsay evidence is irrelevant. The recent judgment is on the basis of such an evidence. There are other such clauses in the apex court’s judgment and so I will appeal again,” said Sharma.

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