The death of media executive Neeraj Grover, 25, in May 2008 was not a premeditated murder but a crime of passion.
With this view, a court in Mumbai has acquitted Kannada actress Maria Monica Susairaj, 30, and her naval officer fiancé Emile Jerome Mathew, 28, of the charges of murdering Grover.
Mathew was convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Susairaj was held guilty of destruction of evidence. Additional sessions judge MW Chandwani is likely to pronounce the sentence on Friday.
On May 7, 2008, Neeraj Grover was killed in a flat rented by Susairaj in Malad West, 25 kms from Mumbai. His body was hacked into pieces and disposed of near Manor in Thane district.
According to the prosecution, Susairaj came to Mumbai in search of work in Bollywood. She got intimate with Grover, who promised her work. However, when he failed to deliver, she and Mathew decided to murder him.
The court, however, said the prosecution has failed to prove the crime was premeditated.”Jerome killed Grover, but his actions were unplanned,” Judge Chandwani said.
“It is not proved that when he (Jerome) entered Maria’s flat, he intended to kill Grover. It happened on the spur of the moment. It is obvious for a man to lose control if he finds his fiancé with another man.”
Further, Grover was stabbed with a kitchen knife, the court said, which indicates that after Mathew met him, he lost control and killed him.
In her confession, Susairaj said Mathew had gone to her flat and finding Grover there, got into a fight with him. He stabbed Grover to death and they later disposed of the body.
“Susairaj, in her confession, accepted that she helped Jerome get rid of Grover’s body and other evidence even though it was detrimental to her,” the court said.
Mathew could be jailed for life or at least 10 years. The maximum sentence for Susairaj is three years in jail.
Grover was killed by Mathew May 7, 2008, when he found him naked in Susairaj’s apartment in Dheeraj Solitaire building in the northwest suburb of Malad.