On Sat July2, when Maria Susairaj addressed a press conference. One could see the mixed emotions on her face. On one hand over-confident, set to prove her innocence, on the other, scared to bits in front of the media, sad, frustrated and an anger against those who were trying to corner her calling her names like ‘killer’ talk..murderess,…etc..
In fact i haven’t understood why in the world she held a presser in the 1st place. But then again i can’t fathom how a ‘celeb’ starlet will think..! She has a smart lawyer to begin with. He advised her well. He held the fort really well. Meanwhile Susairaj gave media a nice run for their money. I surely had questions which were legal. Shaikh sure did a good job. First and foremost he slapped the media in their faces showing the burnt body and skeleton, which showed it was intact. The body wasn’t chopped into 300 odd pieces as it was claimed by Maria’s name sake, a senior IPS officer who was then Jt CP Crime. Calling a press conference Rakesh Maria had said she connived with her lover Emile Jerome & together this couple hatched a plot to kill Grover, destroy his body & mutilated it. Great story, greater plot & fine investigations. Yes, this sure was a crime of sex & passion..but so gruesome even i wonder.
The Grovers were rightfully upset. They have been ‘informed’ through newspapers, tv news channels & police that their son Neeraj was in a relationship with Maria who may have two-timed him as is claimed. But he was no innocent on this sex turf either, he had plenty of gal friends. This starlet wanted a role, since she didn’t get it, she hatched a plot to kill. The appalled parents were truly livid. They were too shocked. They put all their savings & emotions in this case to get their deceased son relief & justice…rightfully. However they too didn’t know the foundation was weak, as created by the police who on one hand promised justice, but on the other weakened it forever.
The prosecutor Kini did his best, whatever he could of the evidence placed in front of him. He fought hard, called 48 witnesses & tried to base the whole murder on 302 IPC. Let us NOT forget the ill-famed Nanavati case of a Naval commander who killed his wife sylvia’s lover Prem Ahuja too was rejected as culpable homicide. So, the ground for the case was set way back in 1959.
Among the witnesses, the mall people told the court yes Maria bought the chopper, 2 suitcases –that they couldn’t have verified it was to cut the body & stuff the pieces. The painter who was called to re-paint the house at most was close to being real witness along with the mattress man who sold new mattresses to Maria, who replaced the blood soaked mattresses, the guard saw them take the corpse of Grover at night & stuff in the back of the car. Mind you, then it was one body. The petrol pump assistant who refused to give fuel and after Jerome flashed his Naval I-Card he was given. This all ruled the magistrate does NOT amount to culpable homicide.
What the records also showed was Maria had received calls from Grover late post midnight. The conversations were to the effect that Maria refused to allow Grover to visit her. She said she was tired & he should not come over. She also threatened him. Her role the magistrate said was amounting to destruction of evidence. Grover’s parents cried & shouted if she didn’t then who killed their son? Who butchered his body? That is the main issue. Maria did it, but the executor was her lover -Emile Jerome.
Maria has been going through family drama at the courtroom. She broke away from the traditional Christian family to make it big in films. In the interim period she fell in love with Naval cadet Emile Jerom, Maria then came over to Mumbai like most starry-eyed starlets who dream big. Not all can make it. She opted for a route which she felt was easy but cut short 1 life & 3 careers. Life of Neeraj Grover & besides her, her former lover Jerome’s career.
When i first heard of Maria Susairaj 3 years ago, the first news was, “how could a girl kill such a nice boy, Neeraj Grover?” Maria went and lodged complaint with Oshiwara police of missing case. Then slowly it was a case of explicit sex & passion. But what transpired thereafter has been 3 years of denial, allegation & counter-allegation. In all this one thing is for sure, Neeraj Grover is NO saint. He wasn’t a man with scruples either.
Here was a vice-president, a very powerful position in a television company. He was the deciding factor or was portrayed to be. Did Grover really have that power? Then when he auditioned Maria he denied the role to her, but had sex with her. He gave her to believe that if she slept she could get a role. A already treaded path by many before –Pritti Jain & Madhur Bhandarkar. Pritti alleged rape & served jail sentence while her writing career got cut short. So therewere case which this small town girl may or may not have heard of. But the fact that casting couch existed & was used in this case, is a fact that as a woman i do feel needs to be highlighted.
At no point am i condoning his death. May be that Maria felt this was a sure shot way. I NOT aware of this path as i chose NOT to tread on it. Yes the hints are subtle, often very explicit. But the fact is one chooses to take it or not. A decade ago i’d have held a grudge against Maria-types. While Grover demanded sex for giving her a role, the fact is also that Maria chose it. Often women & men need to substitute talent, skills & intelligence with other means. In Maria’s case a short-cut method to success & for Grover -easy sex.
In all this the one man who has got caught in his act of passion, revenge & anger with a need to protect his love is Jerome. However today he stands as a villain. His love or now ex, Susairaj has distanced herself from him. His dreams of pursuing naval career has come to a brisk halt. His father looks forlorn & dejected. Despite their opposition their son pursued his love for this starlet & at the end he is left without family, lover or a career.
That Maria could have realised it was a bad move on her part. That she had a lover back home with whom she was sharing her inner most secrets? She may have repented her move, she may have been under pressure to keep away from Grover? Which we hear was the last conversation, as she told him to lay-off. We will never know the truth now. More so we will never want to believe the truth. Is it possible that this lady did regret taking the easy path of casting couch? Is it possible she wanted to mend her ways & somewhere Grover fell prey to his own devious method? Could it also be that Maria used Neeraj? Why didn’t Neeraj or Maria go to police? Why did Neeraj get used tohaving it easy with Maria?
While Nanavati confessed to the Provost Marshal & turned himself over to the police. Unlike in the case Susairaj, she went to Oshiwara police station & filed a missing case, saying Grover went missing. There was again trial by media then. Blitz mag publisher, editor Russi Karankia was a Parsi who supported Nanavati a Parsi. The brazen stand taken was a naval officer fighting for his country was out on duty while his wife, a mother of 3 was lured by Ahuja, who after screwing around with her didn’t want to marry her. USe, abuse, straying, passion, sex & murder. All that goes with a very private affair. Media takes up campaigns like in Nanavati & Susairaj’s case. Only difference being here Nanavati handed himself over & admitted to his guilt, he was let off because of media campaign. He became a hero. While in case of Maria & Jerome they got further caught in their web of lies & NO call of duty by their side.
Grover had a great career going, does power make people quite blind to vices? But the Mumbai police too needs to come clean on this issue. Why did they take a full-fledged presser and announce publicly that Grover’s body was mutilated & cut into 300 pieces? Why did the police shut the case, not make the DNA & forensic reports public? Why is it time and again we are seeing that whenever any crime takes place the end result is determined & just to fill the jigsaw puzzle the typical methodology is used & some arrests are mad to show they fill the gaps? As a senior journalist , it shocks me that my city police’s benchmarks have dipped so low.