The sensational murder case of television executive Neeraj Grover came to a close today with the Mumbai Sessions Court finding Emile Jerome Mathew, a lieutenant in the Navy, guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Mathew’s fiancée Kannada actress Maria Susairaj, who helped him chop Grover’s body into pieces and dump it in an isolated forest, was found guilty of destroying evidence.
Both Mathew and Susairaj will be sentenced by Sessions Judge MW Chandwani tomorrow. According to Susairaj’s lawyer, Sharif Shaikh, she will be set free tomorrow as the maximum sentence for destroying evidence is three years which she has already served as an undertrial.
The duo were arrested in March 2008 after friends of Grover, an executive with Star Television, reported him missing. Maria Susairaj was the original complainant in the case, but she was arrested after she could not provide satisfactory answers to the police about what transpired when Grover spent the intervening night between May 6-7, 2008, at her residence.
Subsequent investigations revealed that Mathew, who was engaged to Susairaj, had spoken to her from the Kochi naval station where he was posted the night before the murder. However, a suspicious Mathew boarded a flight to Mumbai and on landing in Mumbai went straight to Susairaj’s flat, according to the chargesheet filed in the case. On finding Grover in the flat, Mathew got into an argument with him. The verbal battle soon resulted in a scuffle and Grover was stabbed to death. Mathew and Susairaj then chopped up Grover’s body and bundled the remains in two bags that they disposed off in a forest in Manor (Thane). The bags were burnt in an attempt to destroy evidence, according to the prosecution. Neeraj’s father Amarnath Grover said he was disappointed with the verdict. However Susairaj’s lawyer had argued before the court that she was merely a “victim of circumstances”.