Joined: 25 January 2012
November 14 2011 at 10:59am
By Yogas Nair
Summit Handa, 31, has been charged with the murder of his wife, Niranjani, 27, formerly of Overport in Durban.
An Indian national has been arrested in Delhi for the murder of his South African wife, just two weeks after telling police that the Durban woman had drugged him and eloped with a lover.
Delhi police said last night that they had found evidence that Sumit Handa had searched police websites to see whether his wife's body had been found and also searched Google for "burnt dead bodies".
Handa, 31, has been charged with the murder of his wife, Niranjani, 27, formerly of Overport, Durban.
Niranjani's uncle, Krish Pillay, said his brother, Rama, had been told of his daughter's death on Saturday afternoon.
"On Saturday, Rama received a call from the Delhi Crime Police (DCP) telling them that Niranjani had been killed and her body was burnt beyond recognition. They enquired if they must go ahead with a cremation. My brother was shocked and told them it was a mistake."
Pillay said further phone calls to Delhi revealed the gruesome details of how his niece had been killed and that Handa had confessed to the murder.
DCP deputy police commissioner Ashok Chand, said in an interview on NDTV on Sunday that Handa had confessed to the deed.
Chand said Handa had accused his wife of infidelity with an unknown South African man. It is alleged that he stabbed her in a fit of rage with a kitchen knife at their rented flat in south-east Delhi's Pul Prahladpur district on October 29.
He then allegedly strangled her with the cord of his laptop charger and kept the body overnight in the bathroom, police said.
The next day, October 30, police said, he stuffed his wife's body in a trolley suitcase and asked a friend to give him a lift to a town called Rai, in Haryana, about 40km from his home. He also packed another bag with her clothing, which he apparently took with him.
Here Handa is believed to have bought two litres of petrol from a local garage, police said. It's alleged that he then dragged the suitcase more than 200m into a forest clearing, doused the body with petrol and set it alight, together with the clothing, Niranjani's passport and other personal belongings.
Police said he allegedly waited more than two hours for the body to burn and then gathered some of his wife's remains in a plastic bag and went to a nearby river to perform her last rites. He then hitched a ride home, police said.
On his return to his home, Handa cleaned all the blood from the bathroom and then got a handyman to replace all the tiles, in an attempt to remove any traces of blood that could be traced through forensics, police said.
Pillay said police had told them that Handa had filed a missing person's report on November 2, telling police that Niranjani had served him tea laced with sedatives. He claimed that while he was asleep, she eloped with her South African lover, on October 30, taking all her jewellery.
"(Handa had) called Rama on October 28 and gave him this version. At that stage, the family were baffled and thought it was just a domestic dispute."
Pillay said his brother last last spoke to Niranjani on October 27, when she said she wanted to return to South Africa.
"She did not give reasons. My brother advised her to think carefully before she made any decisions."
He dismissed the claims of infidelity as a "pack of lies" and a cover-up by Handa.
Police said that after his wife's death, Handa had hacked into her e-mail account. He apparently gave police print-outs of e-mails he had sent her, begging her to return home.
But an anonymous tip-off that she had been murdered resulted in Handa being placed under police surveillance.
After hours of interrogation, Chand said Handa had confessed to killing his wife.
Analysis of Handa's computer also revealed several Google searches and visits to police websites to see whether his wife's burnt body had been found.
He had allegedly Google searched several times for "burnt dead bodies" in the Haryana district.
Chand said they had overwhelming forensic evidence of burnt hair, bones and ashes that were recovered from Handa's flat.
He said DNA tests would be conducted with Niranjani's parents to confirm whether the remains belonged to her.
Pillay said he was the last relative to have seen his niece alive.
"We met at a conference at the Science of Spirituality Ashram in Delhi in September. She seemed very happy and her marriage showed no strain or signs of unhappiness.
"We are leaving to India tomorrow. We have no idea what the motive was. This is just devastating news to us.
"We hope to return home with Niranjani's remains and her son. We have never met Sumit's family. This will be the first time."
He said the couple decided to settle down in India and left on a happy note in July.
"Sumit had built a mansion in Agra and Niranjani was happy to go. They had great plans for the future." - Daily News
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