Caught on tape: retired HC judge assaulting daughter-in-law

Footage of the assault by Justice Nooty Rama Mohan Rao, his wife and son.

Almost five months after Justice (retired) Nooty Rama Mohan Rao, along with his wife and son, was booked by Hyderabad police for allegedly harassing and assaulting his daughter-in-law, CCTV footage of the assault surfaced Friday.

The purported video footage, with a time stamp dated April 20, 2019, was released by the family of Rao s daughter-in-law, M Sindhu Sarma. Rao served at the Andhra Pradesh and Madras High Courts, and retired in April 2017.

The purported video, 2.20 minutes long, shows Rao s son N Vashishta assaulting his wife Sindhu while in the middle of an argument at their home. Rao and his wife Durga Jayalakshmi walk in, with the latter attempting to intervene and stop the fight. While Vashishta is seen punching and slapping his wife Sindhu, Rao can be seen pulling her arms and pushing her on to a sofa.

Towards the end of the purported video, a child, Sarma s daughter, is seen entering the room and runs to her mother s leg. She is later pulled away and sent out of the room.

On April 27, Sindhu lodged a complaint at the Hyderabad Police Central Crime Station alleging physical and mental abuse and harassment by her husband and mother-in-law. Sindhu stated that, on April 20 night, she was assaulted and required hospitalisation.

Sindhu s father M V Sarma said they lodged the complaint against Justice (retired) Rao, Vashisht and Durga Lakshmi at the CCS under sections 498A, 323 of IPC, sections 4 and 6 of the DP Act. After assaulting my daughter on April 20 night which resulted in injuries, they themselves admitted my daughter at Apollo Hospital. She has cuts and abrasions on her back, chest and hands. They tried to portray that my daughter is mentally unsound and inflicted the wounds on her own, he said.

DCP Avinash Mohanty of CCS told The Indian Express that the complainant had promised to give the CCTV footage but never submitted it. When we registered the complaint on behalf of Sindhu Sarma, she and her family stated they would help the investigation by providing videos of the alleged assaults on her. We have already taken the statement of Vashishta, the house helps, Sindhu, and her father, he said.

In spite of sending several notices since April, Sindhu never submitted the video of the alleged assault on her. After she filed the complaint, the couple was called for counselling to see if they could reconcile for the sake of their young children. The talks and negotiations are still on but we did not see any solution and meanwhile, Sindhu s family has released this video. We will examine it and initiate action.

An uncle of Sindhu s, requesting anonymity, said: The video clearly shows that the retired judge and his wife did nothing to prevent the assault on Sindhu.

The judge himself participated in the attack on my daughter along with his wife Durga Lakshmi. They were harassing her for many years to get additional dowry but she refused so she was targeted. They wanted more money to launch their son Vashishta, Sindhu s husband into some construction business, said Sindhu s father.