India’s Infamous Five: Murder Cases That Shook the Nation
Sushil Sharma burnt his wife’s body in a tandoor based on the suspicion that she was having an affair.
Sushil Sharma burnt his wife’s body in a tandoor based on the suspicion that she was having an affair.

India’s Infamous Five: Murder Cases That Shook the Nation

The Sheena Bora murder case, better known as the Indrani Mukerjea case, is gaining momentum each day, and everyone is gobbling up any information pertaining to the case. This, when the flames of the Aarushi Talwar case are still burning. In the wake of the events, The Quint revisits some of Independent India’s most intriguing and chilling murder cases till date.

Neeraj Grover Murder Case

The story of Neeraj Grover’s brutal murder by Emile Jerome Mathew shocked the whole nation in 2008. 
The story of Neeraj Grover’s brutal murder by Emile Jerome Mathew shocked the whole nation in 2008. 

Neeraj Grover was a television executive whose only mistake, that cost him his life, was that he had an association with a budding South Indian actress Maria Susairaj. She was at that time engaged to naval officer Emile Jerome Mathew. Consumed by jealousy, Grover was hacked to death by Mathew on May 7, 2008. The body was chopped into small pieces with the knife that Susairaj returned home with. Bags packed with parts of the corpse were taken to another suburb where they were set on fire. Mathew was eventually found guilty by the court. He was given a 10 year sentence, and Susairaj was banished to three years in prison by the court.

The Tandoor Murder Case

Sushil Sharma burnt his wife’s body in a tandoor based on the suspicion that she was having an affair.
Sushil Sharma burnt his wife’s body in a tandoor based on the suspicion that she was having an affair.

On the night of July 2nd, 1995, Delhi police constable Abdul Nazir Kunju and Home Guard Chanderpal, saw smoke emanating from the open-air Bagiya Restaurant. What they found out was murder of the foulest kind. It turned out to be the body of Naina Sahni (29), who was killed by her husband, Sushil Sharma, the then Delhi Youth Congress leader. He killed his wife on the suspicion that she was having an extra-marital affair with her former classmate, a fellow Congress worker. It sent shockwaves around the capital’s power circle, and became infamous as the Tandoor murder case. Sharma was spared the noose, but was given life imprisonment by the Supreme Court.

Syed Modi Murder Case

Badminton champion Syed Modi was gunned down outside a stadium in Lucknow in 1988.
Badminton champion Syed Modi was gunned down outside a stadium in Lucknow in 1988.

A brilliant career was cut short in its prime when badminton champion Syed Modi was gunned down as he came out of KD Singh Babu Stadium in Lucknow, on July 28th, 1988. After a nationwide furore and apprehensions of political interference, the then Congress govt in UP recommended a CBI probe, which named seven suspects, including Amethi based Congress leader Sanjay Singh, his associate Akhilesh Singh and Modi’s wife Amita. Twenty one years later, alleged contract killer Bhagwati Singh alias Pappu was found guilty, but without establishing the motive for the crime. Bhagwati Singh was given life term.

Geeta and Sanjay Chopra Kidnapping Case

Siblings Geeta and Sanjay Chopra were kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered by two hardened criminals in 1978. 
Siblings Geeta and Sanjay Chopra were kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered by two hardened criminals in 1978. 

Legendary as the Ranga-Billa case, two teenagers, Geeta and Sanjay Chopra, children of a senior Naval officer, were subjected to sadistic torture before being murdered cruelly. The siblings hitched a ride in a Fiat car being driven by hardened criminals, Kuljeet Singh (alias Ranga) and Jasbir Singh (alias Billa) on August 26th, 1978. The case was extensively covered by the media, and within four years, Ranga and Billa were sent to the gallows. Its victims, Geeta and Sanjay Chopra, had bravery awards instituted in their names.

K.M. Nanavati Case

A crime of passion: KM Nanavati fired shots that shook the nation, way back in 1959.
A crime of passion: KM Nanavati fired shots that shook the nation, way back in 1959.

Indian Navy commander K.M. Nanavati shot his wife Sylvia’s lover and his friend, Prem Ahuja on April 27th, 1959. The crux of the murder was whether Nanavati shot Ahuja in the heat of the moment, or whether it was a premeditated murder. As a crime of passion, the case stunned the country and received unprecedented media coverage, in turn inspiring several books, movies and even merchandise. A significant event, the case was the last to be heard as a jury trial in India, as the government abolished jury trials thereafter.


(The writer is a journalist and a screenwriter who believes in the insanity of words, in print or otherwise. Follow him on Twitter: @RanjibMazumder)

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