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NRI gets 35-yrs jail for killing relatives

Gurmej arranged to set ablaze his wife's home after her parents asked him to leave his mistress.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 11:39 IST

A man of Indian origin in Britain has been sentenced to 35 years in jail for organising the murder of four relatives, including his wife and her parents, who wanted him to give up his "bachelor" lifestyle with a mistress.

Gurmej Rai, 38, has been given four life sentences but must serve a minimum of 35 years in jail.

In September 2004, he hired men of Indian origin to burn down his wife's family home, something a judge described as a "wicked and terrible crime".

Rai organised for Raju Sahonta, 21, and Ravinder Badhan, 20, to enter the house, douse the hallway in petrol, and set it alight.

The blaze engulfed the property and killed Rai's wife, Darshan Kaur, 30, her parents Ajit Singh, 64, and Gurdish Kaur, 60, and their daughter-in-law Palvinder Kaur, 44.

Reports say that Rai was also sentenced to 25 years, to run concurrently, for the attempted murder of Amerjit Kaur, 24, who was the only survivor of the blaze.

Sahonta and Badhan, both from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, were sentenced to 14 years on four counts of manslaughter at the Birmingham Crown Court.

Sentencing Rai, Judge Treacy said, "You have been convicted of a wicked and terrible crime out of anger and revenge and the desire to set yourself free from your marriage. You took the life of the family who stood in the way of your desires."

Rai had moved to Britain in 1998 while his wife remained in India. During that time, Rai lived a bachelor's life and had a mistress.

But when his wife, Darshan, came to Britain in 2004, Rai was told by her family that he needed to give up his unfaithful lifestyle and become a model husband.

First Published: Feb 23, 2006 11:39 IST