‘Had it not been for the strong joint bones of Neeraj and a rough-edged bread knife, the butchering could have been done in a shorter time,’ said Lieutenant Emile Jerome Mathew, the man behind the gruesome murder of television executive Neeraj Grover, in a chilling revelation to the Crime Branch.
The other accused in the case is Mathew's fiancé and Kannada actor Maria Monica Susairaj.
In an interrogation that left the officers stunned, Mathew revealed the details of the murder in a four-hour conversation with Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria on Thursday night. Mathew was flown to Mumbai from Kochi on Thursday and has been sentenced to police custody till May 29.
“It took him almost four hours to cut Grover’s body into fine pieces, to make them fit in the bags,” said Maria. The butchering was done at Susairaj’s flat at Dheeraj Solitaire apartments in Malad (West) from 12.30 pm to 4 pm on May 7.
“The body was dragged to the bathroom. While Mathew kept dissecting the body and piling the pieces, Susairaj packed them into polythene bags, before packing them into three traveller’s bags.”
Chronicling the events, Maria said Mathew had taken an Air India flight from Kochi at 3.45 am. Maria had earlier planned to fly to Kochi on May 17 to celebrate her birthday with Mathew.
Mathew reached Mumbai at about 6.45 am and went to Susairaj’s residence. He found Grover sleeping on a mattress on the floor. “This and Susairaj's filmsy nightdress was enough for him to guess the happenings. Following a brief argument with Grover, he brought a knife from the kitchen and stabbed him several times on the chest and abdomen,” Maria said. Grover was dead in 12-15 minutes.
Even as the blood-soaked body of Grover lay on the floor, Susairaj and Mathew made love on the adjacent mattress. “Then began the diabolic plan to dispose the body,” Maria said.
On Mathew’s instructions, Maria purchased two sports bags and a bread-knife from Hypercity mall. The duo also used one of Susairaj’s bags to pack the chopped body pieces. The duo then took an autorickshaw to the place of Susairaj’s friend and choreographer Kiran Shreyas in Versova. They borrowed his Santro and on their return, purchased two cans of petrol and a lighter.
Mathew, who had earlier trained at INS Shivaji at Lonavla, knew well the jungles of Manor, where the bags containing the chopped body parts were set afire.
What surprised the interrogators was, after the couple returned at 9 pm, Susairaj went on to cook dinner. Soon, Grover’s friends came to her residence to inform about his disappearance and together they went to register a missing complaint at the Malad police station.
“She was briefed so well by Mathew that nobody had an inkling about her role,” Maria added. On their return, Susairaj and Mathew went out for dinner to a restaurant.
The duo then got the flat painted by a local painter. “They were later summoned by the police station, where their statement was recorded,” Maria said. Meanwhile, naval authorities in Kochi had declared Mathew as missing, on account of his uninformed absence.
All through, Susairaj kept Mathew informed about the probe who then briefed her on how to conduct herself to avoid any suspicion.