Rebel bride’s dowry charge junked

GREATER NOIDA: She hit the headlines nine years ago after calling off her wedding in front of 200 guests, alleging the groom’s family had demanded a massive dowry at the last minute. But on Wednesday, all the fame and media adulation Nisha Sharma cornered in 2003 seemed misplaced when a court here declared she had fabricated the dowry charges to wriggle out of the nuptials.

Calling Sharma’s action pre-meditated, the chief judicial magistrate at Gautam Budh Nagar district courts, Vipin Rai, acquitted all the four accused in the case — the groom Munish Dalal, his mother Vidya Dalal, his aunt Savitri Sharma, and Nisha’s former classmate Navneet Rai.

The court noted that there was “insufficient evidence to prove that the demand of Rs 12 lakh had been made by the Dalal family a night before the wedding”. The witness introduced by Sharma’s counsel was “not related” to the family and had died during the course of investigation, opening up room for “benefit of doubt for the accused”, the CJM said. TOI has a copy of the order.

After examining the evidence produced in court, the CJM ruled that Sharma was close to her classmate Navneet Rai and wished to marry him. Her family had discussed the alliance with Rai’s family but it did not work out. Sharma’s father then betrothed her to Dalal. The order says Sharma was unhappy with the match and had set her heart on marrying Navneet, so she cooked up the dowry story.

During investigation, Rai himself had testified against Sharma. Munish Dalal had claimed at the time that Navneet met and told him about his relationship with the woman.

On Wednesday, Sharma couldn’t be contacted and her father DD Sharma refused to comment without seeing a copy of the order. “I haven’t seen a copy of the court’s decision and I simply can’t comment upon the matter until I have seen it. Nisha still doesn’t know about the order and I am not going to be the one who tells her. Let the court’s order come tomorrow and then we will see. But if what the media is saying is true, we will definitely be appealing against the decision,” he said.

A relieved Munish Dalal said the court had vindicated his position. “Nine years of my life were ruined and there is nothing that can make up for it and the amount of suffering that my family and I faced as a result of this. I was a government employee and just a month shy of completing my probation, but after these allegations my whole life and career were ruined.”

Nisha Sharma and Munish Dalal would have tied the knot on May 11, 2003. But the wedding was called off when Sharma alleged the Dalals had demanded Rs 12 lakh cash and a car in dowry. She called the police and a case was registered against Munish, his mother and his aunt.

Source: The Times of India

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