The daughter-in-law of the former high court judge Justice Nooty Ramamohana Rao said on Saturday she did not file a complaint against her in-laws and husband despite facing harassment for seven years as they were ‘influential’ people.
Thirty-year-old Sindhu Sharma made the comments after releasing the CCTV footage of Rao and his son beating her up in April this year. The video has gone viral on social media, triggering outrage over the assault.
Nooty Ramamohana Rao was a judge in Andhra Pradesh and Madras High Courts. He retired on 2017 as Madras HC judge.
Sindhu had on Friday released the footage from the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera of her house, which showed the retired judge, along with his wife Nooty Durga Jaya Laxmi and Vasista, assaulting and abusing her reportedly demanding more dowry.
It shows Vasista assaulting his wife during what looks like an argument inside their living room. Rao is seen dragging Sharma on to a couch as Vasista pushes her and both hit her repeatedly.
Sharma tries to leave but is dragged back to the couch and assaulted again. Her mother-in-law Nooty Durga Jaya Laxmi, also seen in the footage, appears to be shouting at Sindhu.
A child is seen entering the room, running to her mother’s leg as she watches Sharma being assaulted physically as well as verbally.
The child doesn’t leave her mother’s side even though Rao pulls her off the couch and drags her on to the floor. Both the mother and the child fall as Sindhu’s older daughter walks in but is turned away by Vasista.
She said her in-laws were planning to project her as mentally ill and admit her in a government hospital at Erragadda in Hyderabad, after beating her ruthlessly on April 20. She was admitted to Hyderabad’s Apollo Hospital later that night.
“But I strongly resisted their move. Since I suffered bleeding injuries, they took me to Apollo Hospitals. Though my father-in-law threatened me not to reveal the incident to the doctors, they understood my plight after seeing injuries on my body and reported the same in the medical report,” she said.
“It was me who was assaulted. The young man with a beard was my husband Vasista. The elderly man was my father-in-law Rammohan Rao and the woman in her nightie was my mother-in-law. The other woman was our maid,” Sindhu said while speaking to media
The doctors recorded it as a medico-legal case and informed the police. After she was discharged on April 26, she went to her parents’ house and lodged a complaint with the Central Crime Station in Hyderabad against the former judge, his wife and son and their domestic help a day later.
She had filed a case of domestic violence and harassment for dowry against her in-laws in April this year after the assault.
She said she got married to Vasista on August 2, 2012, and was harassed by her husband and in-laws right from day one. “However, I had not made it a big issue. But the physical and mental torture increased after I gave birth to two kids,” she said.
Her father MV Sharma, an assistant commissioner of endowments in Telangana government, couldn’t do much as Ramamohana Rao was very influential. “He has a reputation in the society and no one would believe if we said he was harassing me,” Sindhu said.
Following the registration of the cases, Rao and his family members appeared to have come to a compromise with Sindhu and her parents.
“I, too, wanted my marriage life restored, as I have two children to take care of,” she said.
But Sindhu said she was shocked when she received a summons from the civil court on Wednesday stating Vasista had filed for a divorce. She was asked to appear before the court on Friday.
“I was not given sufficient time even to engage a lawyer. It was then I decided to disclose the videos which I had collected from the CCTV records through my relatives,” Sindhu said.
She told the court on Friday that she would not agree for a divorce.
“I want my married life for the sake of my children. I want social security for my children. I don’t want to marry again and will not allow my husband to marry again,” she said.
Sindhu gave the video clips to the police to substantiate her allegations made in her complaint.
Following Complaint “We have booked a case under sections 498A (cruelty by husband and relatives), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code and Dowry Prohibition Act,” assistant commissioner of police K Sreedevi said while speaking to reporters.
The case has been posted for further hearing on September 23, when the police are expected to submit the footage as evidence in support for her complaint.