Sex, lies and gruesome killing

Mumbai, July 01:‘Our son is missing’

May 7, 2008, Kanpur: Neelam Grover tries to call her 25-year-old son, Neeraj, an executive with TV production house Synergy Adlabs. When her son doesn’t answer she and her husband Amarnath, call his friends to ask if all’s well. No one is able to reach Neeraj. The couple book a morning flight to Mumbai.

May 8, Mumbai: Neeraj’s parents file a missing persons complaint at Malad police station.

May 9: The Grovers meet Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria at the Bandra office of the Crime Branch

May 12: Maria Susairaj, a 27-year-old Kannada actress, hands over Neeraj’s cellphone to his friend, saying he had forgotten it at her place on May 6. She, too, lodges a police complaint that Neeraj’s gone missing, and meets Rakesh Maria with three of Grover’s friends. Susairaj, however, is told she is the prime suspect as she was the last person seen with Neeraj.

May 17: Susairaj breaks down during interrogation and tells the cops that Neeraj was killed. Her confession is recorded by a magistrate.

The back story

One of the missing persons posters for Neeraj Grover that were pasted across the city in May 2008
May 6, 2008: At around 11 pm, Susairaj calls fiance Emile Jerome Matthew, a commissioned Indian Navy officer from Kochi. He overhears a male voice in the background and confronts her. Susairaj tells Jerome that a friend is helping her move into a new apartment at Dheeraj Solitaire building, Malad.

May 7: Emile flies into Mumbai early morning, but doesn’t notify his Naval base in Kochi about the trip. When he reaches Susairaj’s apartment, she opens the door “not properly dressed”. Jerome barges into the bedroom to find Neeraj lying naked on the bed. The two men get into an argument, followed by a scuffle. Jerome overpowers Neeraj, picks up a kitchen knife, and stabs him several times. He falls back dead.

Maria says in her confession that Jerome hits her, forces her to have sex
Times Wellness, and asks her to go buy a knife, bags, and to arrange for a car. Maria heads to a local mall, where she uses her credit card to shop for a chopper and three large bags. She borrows a car from a choreographer friend.

When she returns home, Jerome uses this chopper to cut Grover’s body to pieces. They stuff Grover’s body parts into the bags, load it in the car, and take it to Manor jungle in Thane district, where they burn it using petrol bought from a station nearby.

May 9: Susairaj gets the blood-stained wall in her house painted, and changes the mattress. Jerome returns to Kochi.

Investigation and trial

May 21: Grover’s remains are recovered. Susairaj is formally arrested, while Jerome, detained by Naval police in Kochi, is brought to Mumbai.

May 24: Crime Branch takes over investigation. Emile leads the cops to the chopper used for cutting Neeraj’s body into pieces.

June 1: The kitchen knife used to kill Neeraj is found near a drainage pipe at Susairaj’s flat.

June 4: Susairaj, Jerome sent to judicial custody.

July 12, 2008: Witnesses, including the man who painted the blood-stained walls at Susairaj’s apartment and the security guard of Dheeraj Solitaire building, say they saw Jerome at her house

October 18: Trial begins

April 17, 2009: The first witness in the case, Neeraj’s father Amarnath, deposes.

May: Over several days, Susairaj’s neighbours and her watchmen testify. They tell court that Grover had spent the night of May 6, 2008 in her apartment, and that they saw Jerome there on May 7.

September: Complaint filed against Susairaj and Jerome’s lawyers Murthy Acharya and Raja Thakur for threatening a key prosecution witness. Sharif Shaikh takes over as Susairaj’s new lawyer, and Wahab Khan as Jerome’s.

Nov 9: Case registered against Emile for allegedly assaulting a jail officer.

May 4, 2011: Susairaj denies witness claims of having any physical relationship with Grover. She also says that the confession on May 17, 2008, was taken under duress.

June 30: Sessions judge M W Chandwani delivers verdict. Jerome is convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (with intention to cause death). Both Jerome and Susairaj are found guilty of destruction of evidence