Murder committed by well-known people have always evoked outrage, curiosity, interest, gossip, passion and animated discussion in society that verges on extreme excitement.
Sheena Bora Murder Case
The recent arrest of Indraani Mukherjea, a celebrity wife of media tycoon Peter Mukherjea, accused of murdering her own daughter Sheena Bora, and suspected of planning to murder her son Mikhail Bora, has become the main course meal for a content-starved media and has found eager audience in the sensation hungry television viewer, who has been glued to television ever since Indraani Mukherjea made Breaking News.
Since her arrest, Indraani Mukherjea’s personal life has been laid threadbare in the open and has now degraded into jokes being spread on WhatsApp. At the time of writing, she was still in custody and the case trial yet to open.
Indrani’s husaband Peter Mukherjea was also arrested and sent to judicial custody for two more weeks on 1 December. He has also underwent a lie-detector test which was conducted by the CBI. This is going to be along drawn case which will be keenly watched by the public and media.
Naina Sahni Murder Case
Naina Sahni was the wife of Sushil Kumar, a Youth Congress leader in Delhi. In fact, both were active members of the Congress party. On 3 July 1995, Delhi woke up to the gruesome discovery of burnt human body parts in a Tandoor of a private restaurant called Bagiya, located within a government-run hotel. The restaurant was run by Sushil Kumar.
On returning home the previous night, Sushil Kumar found his wife consuming alcohol and speaking on the phone to someone. On seeing her husband, she disconnected the phone. Sushil redialled the number and found one Matloob Karim at the other end. Enraged, he pulled out his revolver and shot Naina dead.
Matloob Karim was known to both Naina and Sushil, as he too was a Congress party worker. Sushil had suspected an illicit relationship between his wife Naina and Matloob for some time and the couple had earlier fought over this.
Soon after killing his wife, he stuffed her into a bag and drove it down to his restaurant, where his manager Keshav Kumar, helped him cut the body into pieces and put it into the tandoor to burn. Thus, the case came to be known as the Tandoor Murder Case.
After two autopsies conducted on the remains, the DNA results proved beyond doubt that Sushil had shot dead his wife before burning the body parts. Sushil is currently serving life sentence, while his manager Keshav was sentenced seven years in prison.
Neeraj Grover Murder Case
Neeraj Grover was a young 26-year-old television executive living and working in Mumbai. He met a young aspiring actress-cum-model from South India called Maria Susairaj, who had relocated to Mumbai to establish her career in the entertainment industry. After having lived with Neeraj at his flat for a couple of days, she found herself another rented flat in Mumbai.
On 6 May 2008, with the help of Neeraj, she shifted to her new flat. The problem was that she was already in a relationship with a young Naval Officer called Lt. M.L. Jerome Mathew and was due to get engaged with him. Mathew was posted at Kochi, at the time.
Late evening that same day, he called Maria and heard a male voice in the background. Maria told him that it was Neeraj and he was helping her settle into her new apartment. Mathew told Maria to ask Neeraj to leave. Not convinced, he took the early morning flight to Mumbai the next morning and reached Maria’s flat at 7.30 am. Maria opened the door and Mathew walked straight into the bedroom and found Neeraj naked in bed. Both got into a vicious argument that led to Mathew stabbing Neeraj to death, with a kitchen knife.
Mathew then instructed Maria to go out and buy bags, curtains, bed sheets, air freshener and a knife. He and Maria then cut up the body into smaller parts and stuffed it into bags. Maria meanwhile borrowed a friend’s car and the two then drove to a location on the outskirts of Mumbai. They stopped along the way to buy two bottles of petrol, which they used to burn the body parts.
With Neeraj not reachable, his family got suspicious and filed a police complaint. Subsequent interrogation revealed Maria and Mathew’s involvement and made front page news. Maria was pronounced not guilty of Neeraj Grover’s murder but guilty of destroying evidence and sentenced to three years in jail. Lt. Jerome Mathew was found guilty of murder and destruction of evidence and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Ronald Peter Prinzo Murder Case
Shruthi Chandralekha, a 22-year-old young actress who acted in a few Tamil and Kannada films, was married to 35-year-old S. Ronald Peter Prinzo, a small time businessman based in Bangalore. Prinzo was earlier running an online grocery business along with two partners, Umachandran and Prinson, in Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu.
With the business suffering losses, Prinzo’s two partners began pressurizing him two pay back the money they had invested. Under stress, he shifted to Bangalore along with his wife Shruthi, and soon started to make porn films. He began to pressurise Shruthi into acting in his films, which involved multiple partners. This upset Shruthi, who then took the help of his former partners, Umachandran and Prinson, hatched a plan to kill him.
On 18 January 2014, she poisoned her husband’s milk and with the help of Umachandran and Prinson strangulated Prinzo. They later took the body and buried it in Asirvatha Nagar in Palayamkottai, with the help of three other people. Subsequent investigations led to the arrest of Shruthi Chandralekha and all others.
Nanavati Murder Case
On 27 April 1959, Naval Commander Kawas Manekshaw Nanavati returned home after completing an assignment at sea. The young and dashing Parsi Commander lived with his English wife Sylvia and children in Cuffe Parade. On reaching home, he found his wife distant and unresponsive. When asked what was wrong, she remained silent. He then asked her whether she still loved him. She again remained silent. On further prodding, he asked whether she had been faithful to him and she replied in the negative. She finally revealed that she was having an affair with his close friend, Prem Bhagwandas Ahuja, a rich and successful Sindhi businessman, and wanted to marry him though Ahuja was not interested. At that point, Commander Nanavati felt the world had ended for him.
He went to his office at the Naval Base, withdrew his service revolver, finished his official work in the office and headed straight for Ahuja’s office. Not finding him there, he went to his flat and confronted Ahuja. He asked Ahuja if he was willing to marry his wife and take care of his children. Ahuja mocked Nanavati when he said that he could not be expected to marry every woman whom he had slept with. This triggered a violent response in Nanavati who then shot him dead after a brief struggle.
The case made sensational headlines as the trial was played out big time in the then print media. Commander Nanavati was found not guilty by the jury, but subsequent judgement in the High court and Supreme Court found him guilty and sent to prison. After spending three years in prison, he was pardoned by the then Governor of Maharashtra, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. Shortly thereafter, Commander Nanavati, along with his family, immigrated to Canada. He passed away in 2003.
India has witnessed a fair share of sensational crime involving celebrities, actors, politicians, etc., and in each case, there has been a lot of media attention and public interest. Some other famous cases that made headlines were Jessica Lal murder, Nitish Katara murder, the murder case involving politician Romesh Sharma, and the high profile Charles Sobhraj serial murder cases. The list is long and by no means over, with media attention and public curiosity waiting for the next sensational case to unravel.