New Delhi - A man who became a household name in India as the host of a hugely successful crime show was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison for the murder of his wife 17 years ago.

Suhaib Ilyasi produced and directed "India's Most Wanted," a show about criminals on the run that fetched top ratings in the late 1990s.

Ilyasi's wife, Anju, was found at her home with stab wounds on January 11, 2000.

Her death was initially treated as a suicide, but three months later Ilyasi was arrested after Anju's family filed charges of dowry harassment and murder with the police.

Ilyasi was released on bail after three months and had been publishing a magazine Bureacracy Today on civil servants and governance.

A Delhi court on Saturday found Ilyasi guilty of murdering his wife.

"We will appeal against the verdict and sentence. My client is innocent," Ilyasi's lawyer, Manu Sharma, said

Under the Indian legal system trial court verdicts can be challenged in higher courts.

India's judicial system is known to be notoriously slow, bogged down by a shortage of judges, a tendency of lawyers to push for adjournments and poor infrastructure.