Tandoor Murder Case:
The night of July 2, 1995, was like any other for constable Abdul Nazir Kunju and Home Guard Chanderpal.
But the duo knew that something was amiss when they saw smoke coming out of the open-air Bagiya Restaurant in Ashok Yatri Niwas (now called Indraprastha Hotel).
Scaling the hotel's wall, they noticed a foul smell and 'something big' burning in the tandoor (a clay oven) of the restaurant.
They were horrified to find pieces of a body being burnt. That body was Naini Sahni's.
Keshav Kumar, the restaurant manager, was arrested. The prime accused, Delhi Youth Congress leader and Sahni's husband, Sushil Kumar, who was there when the body was being disposed off, managed to flee. He surrendered on July 10.
Kunju and Chanderpal later told a court that Kumar claimed 'he was burning Congress banners'.
The two have been in custody ever since; three other co-accused are out on bail.
The 19-page police charge sheet said Sharma doubted Sahni's fidelity. He believed she was having an affair with her classmate and fellow Congress worker Matloob Karim. This suspicion led to frequent tiffs. Moreover, Sharma wanted to keep his marriage to Sahni a secret, which the latter opposed.
On July 2, when Sharma reached his apartment in Mandir Marg, he saw Sahni talking on the phone.
Seeing him, she put down the receiver. Sharma redialled the number and heard Karim's voice at the other end.
An angry Sharma then allegedly fired three shots from his licensed revolver at Sahni. One bullet pierced her head, another hit her in the neck while the third hit an air-conditioner. Sahni died on the spot.
Sharma, said the police, wrapped her body, took it to the restaurant, chopped it into pieces and tried to burn it in the tandoor.
On the run, Sharma stayed the night over at the Gujarat Bhavan with IAS officer friend D K Rao. In the morning he left for Jaipur. With the cops hot in his pursuit, he scooted to Mumbai and then to Chennai.
Before a Delhi police team could reach Chennai, Sharma fled to Bangalore, where he surrendered.
Both Sharma and Kumar have pleaded innocence. All 105 witnesses have been examined and the trial is over. The verdict will be announced on November 3.
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Design: Rahil Shaikh | Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh | Research & Text: R Swaminathan