Judge SK Malhotra said Ilyasi, who produced and hosted the TV series 'India's Most Wanted', had betrayed the faith of not only his wife (by killing her) but also "of the public at large" as his image in the eyes of the public was that of a law abiding citizen, according to news agency Press Trust of India.
But Ilyasi "committed her murder and gave it a colour of suicide", the judge said.
Ilyasi, who was in the court as the judge pronounced the verdict, shouted that he was not guilty and the life sentence was an "injustice".
Ilyasi's wife, Anju Ilyasi, 30, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in her east Delhi home on January 11, 2000. At the time, Ilyasi had told the police that she had committed suicide.
Given that Ilyasi was the one to report his wife's death to the police, the court said that it was "his duty" to produce his three-year-old daughter, who was an eyewitness to the murder. But she was never interrogated or produced before investigative agencies.
The court also ruled that at this stage, Ilyasi could not take the benefit of his daughter's non-examination, since he had not presented his daughter in front of the authorities to get her statement recorded at the time of the murder, the Press Trust of India reported.
Three months after Anju's murder, her mother and sister told a Sub Divisional Magistrate that Anju had been driven to suicide by Ilyasi, after which he was arrested on charges of dowry harassment.
Years later, Anju's mother pressed her demand that Ilyasi be tried for murder but the trial court had then rejected the demand. It was only in 2014 that the Delhi High Court ordered the trial court to try Ilyasi for murder as well.
Anju's mother Rukma Singh, who had approached the high court to press murder charges against Ilyasi, today said she was "satisfied" with the verdict. "As long as he is convicted, I am fine," she said.
(With Inputs From PTI)