The infamous 'Tandoor murder case': All you need to know
A budding young politician shot his wife in a fit of rage, then chopped the body and tried to burn it in a restaurant's tandoor, a case that shocked the nation.
Sushil Sharma, a former Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress president, was convicted in 2003 for the murder of his wife Naina Sahni, a former functionary of the Delhi unit of the Mahila Congress. The murder took place in July 1995.
In 1995, Sharma was a budding politician, a former students' union leader with friends in high places. In fact, he was reported to have spent the night of the murder at an IAS officer's house, before absconding the following day. He was also the owner of the Bagiya Bar-Be-Que restaurant.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, he was active in various initiatives of the party.
Naina was also a DU graduate who later did a CPL (Commercial pilot licence) course.
According to the prosecution's case against Sharma, he murdered Sahni in her rented apartment, cut the body into pieces and stuffed the remains into the tandoor of Bagiya Restaurant in Hotel Ashok Yatri Niwas.
He killed his wife on the suspicion that she was having an extra-marital affair with her former classmate, a fellow Congress worker.
Sharma's accomplice Keshav Kumar, the restaurant manager at the time, was sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment for criminal conspiracy.
Sharma had been in a live-in relationship with Naina for some time before the two got married, with him choosing to keep the wedding under wraps.
The prosecution in the trial court had contended that there was some domestic violence following his suspicions about Naina.
On July 2, Sharma reportedly saw Naina on the phone as he entered the house. She hung up, but he hit redial to find the call answered by Naina's former classmate and Congress colleague.
Enraged, he used his pistol to kill her, then carried her body to the restaurant where he chopped it into small pieces and tried to burn it in the tandoor.
The detection of the crime was dramatic. A constable posted at Connaught Place and a Home Guard were patrolling along Ashoka Road when they heard a woman screaming about a fire in the hotel.
At Ashok Yatri Niwas, the duo noticed smoke and flames leaping out of the 'Bagiya Bar-be-que'.
The constable left the Home Guard at the spot, rushed to a nearby police post, sought help, and returned to find the flames growing higher.
On entering the restaurant from the rear, they found the manager near the tandoor, placing wooden logs and small pieces of firewood into the burning fire, stoking it.
The manager, Keshav, claimed he was a Congress worker burning old banners and posters but the foul odour was a giveaway, leading to his arrest.
After the fire was doused, investigators found human remains on the tandoor, including a torso and burnt bones. A black polythene sheet nearby bore blood stains too.
The case went to trial later that year with the judgment in what came to be known as the 'Tandoor Murder Case' coming in 2003 when he was awarded the death penalty.
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