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Grover murder: Maria walks free
MUMBAI, JUL 2 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 3 Jul. 2011 12:48 AM IST
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Kannada actress Maria Susairaj today walked free in the Neeraj Grover murder case having already served three-year term as undertrial and claimed she is ‘innocent’ at a press interaction marked by protests and high drama.
Maria (30), sentenced to three-year imprisonment in the macabre killing of TV executive Neeraj Grover in May 2008, said her conviction is a ‘stigma’ on her life while her lawyer Sharif Sheikh, who was present alongside, told a chaotic press conference she would challenge it in the superior court. “I know I am innocent and my God knows I am innocent,” Maria told the media at the Mumbai press club marked by protests by a group of people led by filmmaker Ashok Pandit.
Armed with placards, the protesters initially remained quiet but as Sharif started giving details of the case and spoke against Grover the protest became vocal.
The starlet was found guilty under IPC Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and awarded the maximum punishment of three-year jail term yesterday along with boyfriend Emlie Jerome, a former navy officer. Jerome (28) was held guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in the killing of Grover (25) and awarded 10 years imprisonment of which he has already served three years.
Maria, who spoke intermittently with her lawyer addressing the media most of the time, said she had sympathy for the family of Grover but refused to comment on her relations with him.
“I desperately sympathise (with Neeraj’s family) losing somebody. The whole scenario is sad,” she said. Sharif also showed a photograph used by the prosecution to deny that Grover’s body was cut into 300 pieces as was being claimed.
Meanwhile, Neeraj’s father Amarnath Grover said Maria had nothing to say other than that she was innocent. “She should have had the strength to own up to the truth in front of the media,” he said.
‘Maria is a threat’
Neeraj Grover’s parents also fear that Maria Susairaj might try and harm them. “I fear threat to my life... She can cause damage to us anytime after she has been released from the jail,” mother Neelam Grover said.
“I wish she should not be allowed to move out of Mumbai in any condition... She is a liar, she can harm us and even hatch a conspiracy against us,” Mrs Grover added. Neeraj’s parents also objected to the ‘police security’ provided to Susairaj when she emerged out of the jail.
“It’s surprising... A criminal is enjoying police protection. Now who is going to protect the common man,” asked Neeraj’s father Amarnath Grover.
“Though I am ready to hear her (Maria) if she wishes to make any point, but under any circumstances I would not approach her first,” he added.
Similar crimes,
different penalties
With the awarding of 10 years’ imprisonment to Emile Jerome and his girlfriend Maria Susairaj to three years in the Grover murder case, legal eagles have once again raised doubt over the way our prosecution agency is working.
Criminal lawyer KTS Tulsi said, “This case is no less than infamous Tandoor case, where Sushil Sharma, the main accused in the case, was sentenced to death for brutally killing his wife and then dousing her body in Tandoor. The case of Neeraj Grover was also on the same lines.” “.. Another reason of court taking this stand is lack of supporting evidence. Prima facie it seems that the prosecution failed to establish the missing links in the story and this is where lacunae by the court were found,” Tulsi said.
Former CBI chief Joginder Singh said, “Until and unless our prosecution is strong we will not able to achieve high rate of conviction in such cases. This trend will lead us nowhere. Criminals will continue to be let off easily.”

 
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