Business Standard

Murder cases that hogged media headlines


The Sheena Bora case has hogged media headlines and consequent public attention for the last 10 days. With new twists in the case with each passing day, the country has been rivetted to a story of personal ambition and family intrigues. In the past, there have been similar high-profile cases that caught people's attention due to involvement of high-profile people or simply the severity of crime:

* Jessica Lal case: Model Jessica Lal was working as a celebrity barmaid at a socialite party in when she was shot dead on April 30, 1999. Congress leader Venod Sharma's son Siddharth Vashisht alias Manu Sharma was accused of fatally shooting her. Though Manu Sharma and other accused were acquitted by a trial court in February 2006, the Delhi High Court held him guilty of murdering Jessica Lal. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 20, 2006.

* Aarushi murder case: The case refers to the murder of 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar and her family's 45-year-old servant Hemraj Banjade, in Noida, Uttar Pradesh on the night of May 15-16, 2008 at Aarushi's home. After many twists and turns, Aarushi's parents were convicted in November 2013 to life imprisonment. The Talwars have since challenged the decision in the Allahabad High Court.

* Naina Sahni murder case: Naina Sahni was killed on July 2, 1995, by her husband Sushil Sharma, a Youth Congress leader, and her body burnt in an earthen oven in Ashok Yatri Nivas restaurant Bagiya. Sharma was convicted for the murder by a trial court, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court. Sharma was awarded life imprisonment by the Supreme Court on October 8, 2013.

* Sister Abhaya case: Sister Abhaya, a Catholic nun, was found dead in a well in St. Pius X convent in Kottayam, Kerala in 1992. Initially, the police crime branch said the death was a suicide. Later, the Central Bureau of Investigation concluded that Abhaya was murdered. On November 19, 2008, two priests and a nun were arrested by the CBI and charged with murder and destruction of evidence.

* Neeraj Grover murder case: Neeraj Grover, a television executive working for Mumbai-based production house Synergy Adlabs was found dead in May 2008. Actress Maria Susairaj and her boyfriend Lieutenant M.L. Jerome Mathew were arrested. Mathew was eventually found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and for destroying evidence. Susairaj was acquitted of the killing, but found guilty of destroying evidence.

* Bhanwari Devi murder case: Bhanwari Devi was a 36-year-old auxiliary nurse and midwife in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan, who went missing after blackmailing Indian political figures for inappropriate sexual conduct. Former Rajasthan cabinet minister Mahipal Maderna and Congress legislator Malkhan Singh Bishnoi were charged in the murder case by the CBI.

* Paul Muthoot case: A 32-year-old bachelor, Paul Muthoot George, belonged to the wealthy Muthoot business family, and his killing near Alappuzha on August 21, 2009, created a sensation in Kerala. A special CBI court pronounced 13 accused guilty for the murder of Paul, who was stabbed to death.

* Relu Ram Punia murder case: Former legislator Relu Ram Punia and seven other members of the family were murdered by his daughter Sonia and her husband Sanjiv Kumar at their farmhouse at Litani village on the night of August 23, 2001, while they were asleep. The two were sentenced to death.

* Madhumita Shukla murder case: Poet Madhumita Shukla had an affair with Uttar Pradesh politician Amarmani Tripathi, and was murdered on May 9, 2003. A post-mortem of Madhumita revealed she was carrying a child whose DNA matched with that of Amarmani. Both he and his wife Madhumani Tripathi were sentenced to life imprisonment in October 2007.

* Syed Modi murder case: Syed Modi, an eight-time national badminton champion (1980-87), was shot dead on July 28, 1988 outside K.D. Singh Babu Stadium in Lucknow. Police filed murder charges against Modi's wife Ameeta Modi and her lover (and future husband) Raja Sanjay Singh of Amethi, a prominent politician of the Congress.

* Nithari murder case: The Noida serial murders took place in the house of businessman Moninder Singh Pandher in Nithari village in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, between 2005 and 2006. His servant Surinder Koli was convicted of five murders and sentenced to death. Surinder Koli's capital punishment was commuted to life sentence by Supreme Court on September 7, 2014.

* Pramod Mahajan murder case: Prominent BJP politician Pramod Mahajan was shot at on April 22, 2006, by his brother Pravin Mahajan over a family dispute. He succumbed to his wounds 13 days later. Pravin was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment in 2007. Subsequently, Pravin died of brain haemorrhage in 2010.

* Shivani Bhatnagar murder case: Shivani Bhatnagar was a journalist working for the Indian Express newspaper. She was murdered on January 23, 1999. IPS officer R.K. Sharma's name cropped up in the case. On October 12, 2011, the Delhi High Court acquitted Sharma, Sri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash due to lack of evidence. The conviction of Pradeep Sharma was upheld.

* Priyadarshini Mattoo case: Priyadarshini Mattoo was a 25-year-old law student who was found raped and murdered at her house in on January 23, 1996. On October 17, 2006, the Delhi High Court found Santosh Kumar Singh guilty on both counts of rape and murder and sentenced him to death. On October 6, 2010, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.

First Published: Tue, September 01 2015. 17:58 IST