An ethnic Indian lawyer and three farm workers were on Wednesday charged in a Malaysian court with the murder of a self-made cosmetic moghul and her three associates.
Lawyer N Pathmanabhan, 41, and three others were jointly charged with the murder of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and her associates.
They were charged before Magistrate Hurman Hussain. The charge against Pathmanabhan was read in Bahasa Malaysia while the charge against the rest was read in Tamil.
Others who were charged along with Pathmanabhan were T Thilaiyalagan (19), R Matan (20) and R Kathavarayan (30).
The offence was allegedly committed on Aug 30.
It was reported that the four had gone missing on Aug 30 after telling their families and friends that they were going to Banting to discuss a land deal.
More than a week later, police said they were murdered and burnt, and their ashes thrown into a river near a farm owned by Pathmanabhan.
The accused are also being probed for the murders and disappearance of several others, including Indian millionaire A Muthuraja, 34, local businessmen Mohd Shafiq Abdullah, 37 and 44-year-old housewife T Selvi.
No plea was recorded and the court fixed Dec 16 for mention of the case.
Sosilawati, founder of the cosmetics retailer Nouvelle Beauty Centre Sdn, began by selling cosmetic products door-to-door before starting her own business in 1994.