The curtains finally came down Thursday on one of the most sensational crimes of passion that hit trhe city in recent times involving a former naval officer, his starlet girlfriend and a television executive, who was killed in 2008.
Mumbai Sessions Court Judge M.W. Chandwani Thursday pronounced the judgment holding former naval officer Emile Jerome Mathew guilty of culpable homicide of television producer Neeraj Grover.
Mathew’s actress girlfriend Mariah Monica Susairaj was held guilty of destroying evidence in the killing at her apartment in Dheeraj Solitaire building in the northern suburb of Malad.
The former naval officer’s lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan said that during the trial, the court examined 66 witnesses and hundreds of pages of evidence and police investigation reports.
Around 7 a.m. May 7, 2008, Mathew suddenly came from Kochi, where he was posted, to Mariah’s home and found Grover naked in her bedroom.
According to prosecution, an angry Mathew abused and assaulted Grover and stabbed him with a kitchen knife.
Mariah told police that the first stab was so violent that Grover’s intestines spilled onto the floor. Mathew kept kicking and stabbing Grover even as Mariad watched in horror but did not shout for help.
The next morning, Mariah went to Hypercity shopping mall and bought a huge suitcase, air-fresheners, plastic bags and bed-sheets from there.
Mathew and Mariah chopped Grover’s body into pieces and stuffed these into the bag, along with the blood-stained bedsheets and curtains in her home.
Later that afternoon, Mariah borrowed a friend’s car, and along with Mathew placed the bag into the car and drove off to Manor, in adjoining Thane district, on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway.
At an isolated spot in the dense forest, they burnt Grover’s body pieces and other articles before returning home around 9.30 p.m.
However, unknown to them, a building watchman had seen them putting the bag in the car. He later revealed this to police.
This and other developments during police investigations blew the lid off the crime and the duo was arrested May 21.
Mathew revealed that he stabbed Grover because he felt the TV executive was merely “using” Mariah and would not give her any role in television serials.
Mariah had earlier caught Mathew having an affair with a Bangalore-based woman and had confronted him. Mathew confessed to his affair with a 25-year old woman who was his schoolmate in Mysore.
After Mariah threw a tantrum over Mathew’s six-month affair, he apologised and promised to end it – and lived up to his promise.
The actress also studied in the same school but was two years senior to Mathew. She was introduced to Mathew by her younger sister, who was his classmate.
Mariah came to Mumbai barely three months before the killing and was introduced to Grover through a common friend, working as a cameraman. They remained in touch over phone.
Soon they started meeting regularly at a coffee shop in north Mumbai’s Oshiwara, a cluster of many television and film production houses.
She also went and lived with Grover at his Andheri flat for a few days and he was a regular visitor to her home in Malad.