In what can be likened to Delhi’s tandoor murder case, a 25-year-old creative head of a film company was killed, chopped into pieces, stuffed in bags and later burnt.
The crime branch on Wednesday arrested a Kannada actress and her fiancé, a lieutenant in the navy, for the murder — suspected to be the fallout of a love triangle.
Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Rakesh Maria said while Maria Monica Susairaj (27) was arrested in Mumbai, her fiancé ML Jerome Mathew was arrested by naval police in Kochi and was to arrive in Mumbai at night. “It is one of the most heinous murders I’ve seen in my 27 years in the department. But no murder is a perfect murder. We followed the clues and ended up with the killers,” said the officer.
Rakesh Maria said Neeraj Grover (25), creative head with Synergy Adlabs, was missing since May 7 and his friends had lodged a missing persons complaint. A week later, the investigation was handed over to the Unit IX crime branch. During investigation, police learnt Neeraj had left home on the night of May 6 and gone to Susairaj’s flat. The two had met in March. Susairaj then got a call from Mathew, who on hearing Neeraj’s voice in the background got angry. He took an early flight to Mumbai the next day and went to her flat, where he found Neeraj. An argument ensued and in a fit of rage, Mathew reportedly stabbed Neeraj with a kitchen knife several times.
On Mathew’s insistence, Maria said, Susairaj borrowed a friend’s car, “went to a mall, bought two sports bags, new drapes for the house and a knife”. After chopping and packing up the body, they drove to Manor, purchasing two bottles of petrol and a lighter on the way. “They went into the jungle and set the bags on fire,” Maria said. Susairaj came back and returned Neeraj’s cellphone to his friends, saying he’d left it at her place which he’d left at 1 am Mathew left for Kochi on May 9.
Rakesh said their suspicion had centered on Susairaj and she had finally broken down.
With inputs from Aishwari Chouhan