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HomeEditorial11 years ago, Niranjani Pillai was killed in the same manner as...

11 years ago, Niranjani Pillai was killed in the same manner as Shraddha Walker

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Image: Sagar Kambli

11 years ago, a murder case like the Shraddha Walker case rocked the nation. Sumit Handa, murdered his NRI Indian wife, Naranjani Pillai, in south Delhi and stuffed her body in a bag and set it on fire in Haryana in 2011, October. Sumit Handa was suspicious of disloyalty, a supposed video call with a male friend and constant fights had apparently provoked Handa into stabbing his wife in the abdomen, strangling her with the laptop charging cord and stashing her body in the bathroom of their flat. He even changed the floor tiles of the bathroom where he had kept the dead body so that no blood stains could be found.

Niranjani Pillai was a 27-year-old South African lawyer. Sumit met Niranjani’s father Rama Pillay in 2003 when he was working with a travel firm in India. In 2005, he moved to South Africa after he was employed by Pillay. There he met Niranjani and married her in 2007 and they had a child in 2010. In July 2011, the family shifted to India and in September stayed in Agra in the house of Handa’s parents. In October, Handa got a job in Delhi and the family shifted to the capital along with Handa’s sister who wanted to help them in raising the child. However, a week before the murder, the accused sent the child and his sister back to Agra. Niranjani was very beautiful, and Handa was very possessive. He was very suspicious too. One day he killed her and stuffed her body in a suitcase. Handa waited for more than two hours at the spot where he burnt the body and left the place after collecting a part of the ashes.

Handa tried to mislead the police and registered a complaint on November 2 that his wife had fled with someone and her gold jewellery, cash and clothes were missing from their home. He wrote e-mails requesting her to return and showed these to the cops in his defence. Police received information that the murderer was Handa himself which led to his apprehension and interrogation.

It took the cops 20 days to recover the murder weapon-a knife, in addition to pieces of bones which formed crucial evidence. Key testimonies came from a friend whose help Handa had sought in disposing of the body, petrol pump employees who sold him fuel, which was used to burn Pillai’s body and a cab driver who refused to drive him to Haryana.

Meanwhile, in the latest update on the Shraddha murder case, a 2020 image of injured Shraddha surfaced online with cuts on her face, swollen eyes and bruised cheeks. Now, this has raised the question of whether Shraddha was assaulted by her live-in partner Aaftab for years. The Delhi police investigation revealed the couple had frequent fights. Besides, Poonawala continued to meet several women on the dating app after killing Walkar.

According to another official who visited the crime scene, the accused had removed the evidence from inside the house quite professionally. Meanwhile, a Delhi Court allowed the police to take the Narco test on Wednesday and Aaftab gave his consent for it on Thursday. When the judge asked if he was aware of the implications of the narco test, the accused said “yes”.

Like Aftab and Shradha, even Naranjani Pillai and Sumit Handa used to squabble over several issues. On Oct 30, they badly quarrelled and Handa in a fit of rage stabbed his wife in their rented flat in Vishwakarma Colony, Pul Prahladpur. On 18th May, Aftab and Shradha had a bad fight, Aftab pushed Shradha and strangled her to death.  Aftab brought a fridge to keep Shradh’s body in pieces. Sumit also cut Nalini in pieces and stuffed the body in the bag, blood-stained clothes in another bag and took them to Rai in Haryana. There he poured petrol over the body and the bags and burnt them.

After a lot of drama, he disclosed that he murdered Naranjani by stabbing her with a knife and then strangulating her with a wire. He then took the body in a bag and destroyed it along with blood-stained clothes. Aftab used to sleep every day in the same room where he had chopped the body after killing Shraddha. He used to see the face after keeping it in the fridge. Aftab cleaned the fridge after disposing of the body parts.

Twenty-eight-year-old Poonawala strangled Walkar in May and sawed her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in South Delhi’s Mehrauli before dumping them across the city over several days past midnight. Aftab dumped Shraddha’s phone, her last location being traced so that it can be retrieved. Police are searching for the weapon used to chop her body into pieces. He used her Instagram account until June to give an impression of her being alive, said Delhi Police. Even after 11 years, police could not trace any evidence and Sumit came out on bail. Let’s see which way Aftab’s case goes.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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