Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday admitted
an appeal filed by the Maharashtra government seeking
enhancement of punishment awarded to Kannada actress Maria
Susairaj and her naval officer fiance Emile Jerome for the
murder of television executive Neeraj Grover.
A division bench of justices V M Kanade and A M Thipsay
admitted the appeal. A trial court on July 1 acquitted
Susairaj and Jerome of the charge of murdering Grover.
While Jerome was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for
culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Susairaj was held
guilty only for destruction of evidence and sentenced to three
years in jail. Since she had spent more time in jail as an
undertrial, she was freed a day after the sentencing.
The lower court had held that the prosecution had failed
to prove its case and could not establish the motive behind
The state government, however, in its appeal before the
high court claimed that the accused had hatched a conspiracy
to kill Grover.
The appeal claimed that Susairaj felt "cheated" by
Grover, who she thought was bluffing her under the pretext of
getting her a role in a serial.
Attributing motive behind the murder, the state contended
that Susairaj nursed a grudge against the victim.
The appeal further claimed that Jerome came to Mumbai on
May 6, 2008, as planned by him and Susairaj to kill Grover.
Both the accused have also approached the high court
challenging their conviction. Their appeal was earlier
admitted by the court.
According to police, Grover was stabbed to death by
Jerome after the victim got into a feud with the naval officer
on May 7, 2008. The alleged murder took place at the suburban
residence of Susairaj. The two accused had allegedly cut the
body into several pieces before disposing it off at Manor
Jungles on the outskirts of the city.