Munish Dalal and his wife, Preeti. Photo: Simon De Trey-White
Munish Dalal was once the most detested man in India. In 2003, his then fiancee, Nisha Sharma, told police he had arrived at her house on the eve of their wedding and asked for 1.2 million rupees ($A23,000) and a car as dowry. In a country where demanding dowry is illegal Sharma was hailed for standing up to a greedy bridegroom, while Dalal spent two months in jail before being released on bail.
Over the next few years Dalal lost his reputation and his job. His mother, too, lost the teaching position she had held for 36 years. Meanwhile, the case was used in school textbooks to illustrate the social evil of dowry, with Dalal portrayed as the villain and Sharma as a courageous woman who took a principled stand.
But then everything changed. In February, a court acquitted Dalal of the charge. The judge found that Sharma had been in love with another man and wanted to marry him. So by falsely accusing Dalal of demanding dowry she was able to get out of the marriage to Dalal without angering her parents.