Tandoor case: SC commutes Sushil Sharma’s death sentence

New Delhi: Eighteen years after he murdered his wife and burnt her body in a tandoor, the Supreme Court today commuted to life imprisonment the death penalty awarded to former Youth Congress leader Sushil Sharma in the case that had sent shock waves across the nation.
Sharma was given as lesser sentence by the apex court as he did not have any criminal antecedents before the crime and the murder was committed because of strained personal relationship.
While granting relief to Sharma, the bench noted mitigating factors like no family members of the victim deposed against him and he was very remorseful on the death of his wife and that he cannot be considered a threat to society.
Sharma had murdered his wife Naina Sahni on the suspicion that she was having an extra-marital affair. He then cut her body into pieces and burnt them in a clay oven of the then government-owned hotel Ashok Yatri Niwas.
A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam allowed Sharma's appeal challenging the order of trial court which had awarded him death sentence that was subsequently upheld by the Delhi High Court.
The gruesome murder, which took place on the intervening night of July 2-3, 1995, shook the conscience of the nation.
The bench said the imprisonment would be for the entire life, subject to remission which must be done by following proper procedure.
In his plea, Sharma had contended that his conviction was entirely based on circumstantial evidence and thus death penalty cannot be awarded to him.
Sharma has in his petition filed in 2007 contended the high court had erroneously concluded that the offence committed by him falls under the rarest of rare category, warranting capital punishment.