KM Nanavati entered his wife Sylvia’s lover Prem Ahuja’s bedroom in his plush Bombay residence, fired three bullets at Prem and left him in a pool of his own blood, dead. This very ‘crime of passion’ and shots by Parsi naval commander Nanavati shook the 1959 India and led to one of the country’s last trial by jury cases. The sensational scandal has inspired several films in the past and upcoming web series The Verdict is based on it too. The digital drama stars Manav Kaul as Nanavati, Elli AvrRam as his wife Sylvia amongst other characters. Watch the trailer to know more:
Slated to release on 30 September 2019, we have rounded out seven controversial murder cases that took place after the Nanavati scandal.
1. Jessica Lall murder case
Jessica Lall murder is one of the prime cases that attracted national attention. Manu Sharma, the son of former minister and Congress politician Venod Sharma, was convicted of shooting Jessica during a private party in 1999 after she refused to serve him alcohol at a bar. He was earlier acquitted of killing Jessica Lall, however, the Delhi HC took up the matter amid protests and outrage and later pronounced Sharma guilty.
2. Nithari killings
Surinder Koli worked as a domestic help at Moninder Singh Pandher’s place in Noida. In 2006, the duo was arrested after skulls of missing children from a nearby Nithari village were found. They were accused of rape, cannibalism, pedophilia, sodomy, and even organ trafficking. In July 2017, both Koli and Pandher were awarded the death sentence by the CBI Court at Ghaziabad.
3. Aarushi Talwar – Hemraj murder case
In 2008 in Noida, a 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was found dead in her bedroom, with her throat slit. Hemraj, a domestic help at her house, was found dead soon after. Investigation and evidence pointed to Dr Rajesh Talwar, her father, and he was seen as a possible suspect. In 2017, the court acquitted him and his wife Dr Nupur Talwar of all charges. The case still remains unsolved.
4. Sheena Bora murder case
If not for her driver, Indrani Mukerjea wouldn’t have been easily caught in the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora. Mukerjea, the wife of TV honcho Peter Mukerjea, killed her daughter Sheena who she claimed to be as her sister, in 2012, and had her body buried in Raigad forest. Five years later, an informer told about details of Sheena’s murder Mumbai Police who confirmed the information in hours of grilling session with Indrani and her driver.
5. Sunanda Pushkar death
Sunanda Pushkar, wife of an Indian diplomat and politician Shashi Tharoor was found dead in room 345 of Delhi’s Leela Palace hotel. Tharoor found her asleep and alerted the cops only when she did not ‘wake up.’ A day prior to her passing away, Pushkar had accused Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar of stalking her husband. Early postmortem reports stated suicide, it was only later the AIIMS doctors claimed death by drug overdose. On January 6, 2015, Delhi Police reported that Sunanda was murdered.
6. Priyadarshini Mattoo murder
Santosh Singh was besotted with his 25-year-old LLB junior in Delhi University, Priyadarshini Mattoo. Mattoo filed a complaint and sought security but Singh continued to stalk her. On 23 January 1996, he entered Mattoo’s uncle’s home under the pretext of seeking a compromise in their legal complaints. However, he raped Mattoo, strangled her with a wire and then battered her face with a motorcycle helmet. A session court judge acquitted Singh holding the CBI responsible for the poor investigation. The 450-page judgement also came down heavily on the Delhi Police since Singh’s father served as the Joint Commissioner of Police in Delhi during the course of the trial. In February 2000, the CBI made an appeal in the Delhi HC but it was only in 2006 the case picked momentum.
On 17 October 2006, Singh, who meanwhile had married and become a practising lawyer in Delhi itself, was found guilty and awarded death sentence. In October 2010, the Apex Court reduced the punishment to life imprisonment. In May 2019, he was granted parole for LLM examination.
7. Neeraj Grover murder
Maria Susairaj was a small-time South-Indian actress who Neeraj Grover, an executive in a TV company, was helping get a foothold in Mumbai. Maria had a boyfriend Lieutenant Emil Jerome Mathew. At the time of the incident, Maria was moving into her new apartment and Neeraj was helping her shift her stuff. Mathew was upset to hear a male voice when he called Maria and asked her to not let Neeraj stay over. He took a flight from Kochi and showed up at Maria’s apartment the next morning. Mathew barged into the bedroom and found Grover. As per reports, Mathew and Neeraj had a fight, later, the former stabbed Grover with a kitchen knife.
Mathew and Maria then chopped Neeraj’s body parts, put them in a bag and set it on fire in Manor. They returned to Mumbai the same night. Lapses in planning and leads led to Mathew and Maria’s arrest days later.
8. Syed Modi murder
Syed Modi was India’s star sportsman. He was an eight-time National Badminton Champion (1980–87), winner of the Men’s Singles title at the 1982 Commonwealth Games and three other international titles — the Austrian International (in 1983 and 1984) and the USSR International (in 1985). On the evening of 28 July 1988, Modi was shot dead at KD Babu Stadium where he’d practice regularly. CBI investigation revealed four assailants – Amar Bahadur Singh, Bhagwati Singh, Balai Singh, and Jitendra Singh were hired by an Akhilesh Singh to kill Syed.
Akhilesh was a friend of Sanjay Sinh, a friend of Modi who his wife Ameeta was allegedly in love with. The assumptions were based on a diary entry by Ameeta, love notes exchanged between her and Sanjay. However, none of the material could prove them guilty in court. Thus, charges were dropped against Akhilesh, Sanjay, and Ameeta. Two of the assailants were murdered after they were released on bail. Bhagwati was sentenced to life imprisonment.
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