HT Image
HT Image

Tandoor victim Naina rises from ashes

Naina Sahani's body was charred to cinders in a Delhi restaurant's oven some 12 yrs ago. It is said as her death anniversary nears the condemned area emanates the smell of burning flesh. Sarat C Das finds out.
Hindustan Times | By Sarat C Das
UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2008 12:30 PM IST

On the fateful evening of July 2, 1995, when politician Sushil Sharma reached his flat in the Gole Market area of New Delhi, he found his 26-year-old wife Naina Sahani talking on phone with someone. Suspecting that an inebriated Naina was talking to Matloob Karim, Sharma got enraged and shot her with his licenced revolver thrice and Naina succumbed to her bullet injuries in the head and the neck. For sometime Sushil Sharma suspecting his wife of infidelity. See video

Sharma then took the body in his car to Bagia Restaurant in Ashoka Yatri Niwas, close to Parliament House, which was being run by him on contract with the India Tourism Development Corporation. He then asked his manager Keshav Kumar to destroy it in the 'tandoor'.

The smoke and flames from the 'tandoor' at the open-air restaurant caught the attention of a woman, who informed beat constable Abdul Nazir. The valiant constable caught Keshav Kumar red-handed. Police retrieved charred body parts from the oven of the restaurant.

According to a media story, those working at the hotel, where Naina's body was disposed off, believed they could smell Naina Sahani's burning flesh each time her death anniversary drew near. The thick air surrounding the tandoor area could suffocate anybody on this particular day.

Ashoka Yatri Niwas now has been turned into a luxury hotel -- Ramada Plaza -- located in a manicured garden in the historic central business district of Delhi. Near Ramada Plaza the Shangri-La Hotel is the tallest skyscraper among the hotels of Delhi metropolis. The hotel, which offers exquisite views of the city's historic diplomatic district, too has found the shadowy existence of Naina Sahani within its sighting. Some visitors to the hotel find Ashoka Lane little creepy late in the night because of this incidence. Other visitors say it could be a figment of imagination because Naina had such a gory death.

After the court examined 87 of the 100 witnesses cited by the prosecution, the Additional Sessions Judge G P Thareja, while handing out the death sentence to Sushil Kumar, said the convict deserved no leniency because he had "profaned" his wife Naina Sahni's body by burning it in a tandoor. He wrote in his 254-page judgement: "A dead body is respected in this country. Everyone reveres a dead body on its last journey. By burning the dead body, the accused intended that Naina Sahni should go unwept, unsung and unheard."

It is said Naina Sahani still seeks out her corporeal existence from tandoor where her body was charred to cinders.

Story Saved