REMEMBER THIS? The Anju Ilyasi suicide case
Crime time host
Four years after his wife's suicide in 2000, India's Most Wanted host Suhaib Ilyasi faces charges of harassment and dowry death. He's out on bail in Mumbai, planning a film—on crime
NEW DELHI: SUHAIB Ilyasi shot into television fame with his crime show India's Most Wanted. From the host of the show he went on to become the Wanted Guy after his wife Anju committed suicide on the night of January 10, 2000. Ilyasi, is now facing charges of dowry harassment, dowry death and tampering with evidence. Currently facing trial and out on bail, he has since shifted to Mumbai to try his luck in the Hindi film industry. Last year he announced he would be producing and directing a film on a Uttar Pradesh-based hitman. Every weekend he flies down to Delhi to visit his daughter Aaliya who stays with his parents.
Rukma Singh has little hope that her daughter Anju will get justice even in death. Rukma fought a bitter custody battle for her six-year-old grandaughter Aaliya, who she can now meet only for two hours a month.
The case also marked an almost irreparable divide in her family. One where Rukma and her daughter Rashmi made strong allegations of dowry harassment against Suhaib Ilyasi, alleging that it finally pushed Anju into commiting suicide. In a curious twist, these allegations were contested by Anju's brother Prashant and father Dr K P Singh.
This week on May 11, Rukma was supposed to take the stand. But she sought an adjournment on the ground that she had just had a cataract operation a month and half ago. The next date of hearing is scheduled for June 1.
Because of this, Rukma refuses to talk about the case. ''I have to take the stand and can not say anything until after,'' she says. As she talks about Anju, Rashmi and Aaliya, she says, ''I don't know what will happen to this case and I don't see any hope. This process has gone on for so long. Anju died four years back. Since then, every day has been a struggle.''
Her second daughter Rashmi, a Canadian citizen who runs a montessori school there, visits Delh regularly. ''She was here for two-and-a-half months. It is difficult for her. But she manages,'' she says.
A case that remained in the headlines for a long time, it's now relegated to the Karkardooma court. Dates are fixed and hearings scheduled. So far, says Suhaib's lawyer Abha Roy, about three to four witnesses have been examined and the case is far from over.
''Two months back the court rejected Rukma and Rashmi's request of additional charges since no fresh evidence had been submitted,'' Roy says, alleging that Rukma has been evading court summons.
In the early hours of the morning on January 11, Anju Ilyasi was declared brought dead at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Inquest proceedings were ordered since Anju and Suhaib had been married for less than seven years (The IPC lays down that if a woman dies before seven years of marriage, the dowry angle has to be explored). A panel of doctors conducted the post-mortem even as the East district police started putting together the events that took place on the night of January 10 at B-13, IFS flats, Mayur Vihar. Later, the sub-division magistrate clearly indicated in his report that Anju's injuries were ''self-inflicted and suicidal in nature''.
According to Suhaib's statement to the police, the couple had fought that night. He told the police that Anju had first threatened to kill herself, Suhaib and their daughter with his revolver and that he snatched the revolver away from her.
Suhaib told the police that Anju then walked into their bedroom and stabbed herself twice. Suhaib, along with PSO constable Shatrughan, first rushed her to Virmani Nursing Home and then to AIIMS where she was declared brought dead.
Suhaib's counsel Roy says, ''Since the couple's relationship was not estranged, foul play was not expected. The next day, in a statement to the police, Anju's parents and brother stated that she was short-tempered and that they did not suspect foul play.''
Roy claims that the Rukma changed her version only after Anju's sister Rashmi came to Delhi from Canada. She further alleged that the statements against Suhaib were made only after he refused to give Rashmi, Aaliya's custody.
Suhaib was arrested on March 20, 2000, under sections 498A, 304B and 201 of the Indian Penal Code. He was granted bail on June 2, 2000.
In the chargesheet filed by the East district police officials noted, ''During the course of investigation, it has been found that the accused was not having cordial and affectionate relation with the deceased...'' It added that this, ''acted as slow poison on her life due to which she has committed suicide.''
While detailing the grounds on which he was arrested, the chargesheet alleges dowry demand. The chargesheet notes, ''...the detail of three diaries written by deceased Anju Ilyasi herself proved that she was so tortured by accused resulting that she committed suicide.''
• Television show India's Most Wanted host Suhaib Ilyasi's wife Anju committed suicide in January 2000
• Anju's mother and sister
accuse Suhaib of harassing her for dowry. Curiously, her father and brother stand firmly behind Suhaib
• The case is still in court.
Ilyasi is out on bail, in
Mumbai planning a film—this time on a hitman
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