Ex-naval officer Emile Jerome Mathew, convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder in TV executive Neeraj Grover's killing, has challenged his conviction in the Bombay high court, blaming his fiancée and co-accused Maria Susairaj for the crime.
“We have challenged the sessions court and appealed in the Bombay high court. It is expected to come up for hearing along with Mathew's bail application July 25,” Mathew's lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan told IANS Sunday.
Turning against his fiancée and co-accused Kannada starlet Maria Susairaj in his application, Mathew has challenged his own conviction for 10 years by the trial court.
A day after Maria was sentenced to three years for destroying evidence in the case, she walked out of jail July 2 as she had already served the term as an undertrial, creating a nationwide outrage.
Mathew has said that the motive behind the Grover killing -- famous now as a crime of passion and the subject of a forthcoming Bollywood movie -- was Maria's and not his.
He further said in his appeal that the prosecution was unable to ascertain the time of Grover's death. "Hence, the possibility that he (Grover) was already dead, before Mathew's arrival, could not be ruled out."
Mathew, in the appeal, has also accused the police of planting evidence -- including a knife -- at the crime scene.
Home minister RR Patil and prosecution counsel RV Kini have already said that the state would appeal against the lower court judgement in the Bombay High Court.
Grover, a producer working with a private television company, was killed by Mathew early morning of May 7, 2008, after finding him naked in Maria's apartment in Dheeraj Solitaire building, Malad, in northwest Mumbai.
Mathew was found "guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder", under Section 304 (I) of the Indian Penal Code which attracts 10 years or life term in jail.
According to prosecution, an angry Mathew had abused and assaulted Grover and stabbed him with a kitchen knife.
Mathew and Maria allegedly chopped Grover's body into pieces and stuffed it into a bag along with the blood-stained bedsheets and curtains in her home.
They drove off to Manor, around 100 km in adjoining Thane district, and burnt the body pieces and other articles.