It’s been three years since 26-year-old media executive Neeraj Grover was stabbed to death and his body hacked into pieces in a flat in their building, and residents of Dheeraj Solitaire building in Malad have used the time to detach and distance themselves from the gruesome incident.
On Thursday, the day the verdict was delivered — that Kannada actor Maria Susairaj is responsible for destruction of evidence and her fiancé, naval officer Emile Jerome, is guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder — there was barely a reaction from residents of the high-rise.
“The flat [where the murder occurred] has been locked by the crime branch since the incident,” said a security guard at the entrance of the building, on condition of anonymity, appearing mildly interested at the mention of the verdict. “We are all new here. Whatever we know about the case is only through the newspapers,” claimed another security guard, who also did not wish to be named.
Residents, too, preferred not to talk about the murder. “I know about the case and the flat it occurred in, but I moved in recently, and I don’t know who lives there now,” said a female resident, who refused to be identified.
Immediately after the murder, which took place on May 7, 2008, many residents had expressed fear that the value of the flats in their building would fall because of bad publicity. In 2011, they continue to believe that it is better to steer clear of bad publicity.
The flat was rented by Susairaj; in fact, the murder took place on the day she moved into the apartment. Following the incident, she had repainted the flat in an attempt to destroy evidence. The prosecution had claimed that the she had taken the flat on rent in order to commit the murder, but the court rejected the argument that the murder was premeditated.