Mumbai: A sessions court, which absolved
Kannada actor Maria Sussairaj and her boyfriend Emile Jerome
from the charges of conspiracy and murder in the Neeraj Grover
case, has said it was the slain TV executive who called Maria
on her cellphone and not vice versa.
In its July 1 judgement, the court observed that the
prosecution`s case was that Maria called Neeraj at her home by
telephoning him on the night of May 6, 2008. But the call
detail report showed it was Neeraj who called Maria on her
mobile. So the call record is contrary to the prosecution`s
In a copy of the order, released to the media today,
the court noted that the theory of criminal conspiracy, put
forward by the prosecution only on the basis of call details
between Maria and Jerome on May 6, 2008, fails to hold.
"Had there been plan to eliminate deceased Neeraj, in
pursuance to criminal conspiracy between the Maria and Jerome,
then why Jerome would have called on the mobile of Neeraj,"
observed judge M W Chandwani.
"Therefore, I find substance in the arguments of
defence advocates that Maria had no motive for murder of
Neeraj and there was no conspiracy between Maria and Jerome."
The court observed in its 177-page order that the
prosecution`s case was that Jerome was a navy officer and that
he suddenly flew to Mumbai without obtaining leave from naval
base at Kochi, where he was posted.
It was very easy to come with preparation of murder by
bringing weapon with himself but it is not the prosecution`s
case that Jerome had visited Mumbai with preparation or with
any weapon of assault to eliminate Neeraj, it said.
The court held that as per the prosecution, after the
murder Maria went to Hypercity mall for buying a big knife and
a bag for disposing Neeraj`s body and also borrowed a car.
"These circumstances itself go contrary to the theory of
conspiracy. Had there been a conspiracy, the accused would
have prepared the entire thing in advance."
The most important circumstance which goes against the
theory of prosecution regarding conspiracy is the weapon of
assault, a knife. According to prosecution, a kitchen knife
was used to kill the 25-year-old TV professional.
"I am unable to digest that theory of conspiracy. If
it is a pre-planned murder then the accused would not have
used kitchen knife. Jerome, then serving in navy, could have
easily arranged the weapon of assault to give definite design
to conspiracy," the judge remarked.
The court held that it has been brought on record that
Maria had visited Mumbai in April 2008. From the record, it
appears that the friendship of Maria and Grover was only of 10
days old. If, according to prosecution, Neeraj was trying for
a role in TV serial for Maria then why in the passage of only
a week or fortnight, Maria should get frustrated when usually
it takes considerable time to get a role in TV serials.
"A very important aspect of the case is that the
prosecution has not brought anything on record to show the
grudge of Maria over Neeraj, rather prosecution came with a
case of intimacy between Maria and Neeraj."
The judge said that Maria`s advocate had brought on
record the press conference of police officer Rakesh Maria in
which he had stated that the case was a triangular love story.
"The theory of conspiracy of prosecution has failed.
Therefore, looking into the circumstance and the weapon of
assault, the theory of motive brought out by the prosecution
does not seem to be probable."