South Africa contests NRI husband`s UK bail

Shrien Dewani, the Indian-origin man arrested for allegedly organising the killing of his newly-wed wife Anni on their honeymoon in South Africa, will remain in custody.

Last Updated: Dec 09, 2010, 00:12 AM IST

London: Shrien Dewani, the Indian-origin
man arrested for allegedly organising the killing of his
newly-wed wife Anni on their honeymoon in South Africa, will
remain in custody after South African authorities opposed his
bail worth 250,000 pounds.

The sensational case of the couple who went on a
honeymoon to South Africa after a `fairytale` marriage in
India has taken a new turn with the Bristol-based husband
being arrested for allegedly organising the killing of his new
wife, Anni, 28.

Magistrates in the City of Westminster today granted
bail to Shrien, but a High Court judge will now hear the
appeal by South African authorities within 48 hours.

Shrien told the court he did not consent to
extradition.

South African authorities want to question him after
taxi driver Zola Tongo told the Western Cape High Court that
he was offered 15,000 rand (1,400 pounds) by Shrien to kill
his wife.

Shrien, a businessman from Westbury-on-Trym in
Bristol, denies any involvement in the murder.

His lawyer Clare Montgomery said his "love for his
wife was shown at his wedding".

She added that passport records showed that he had not
been to South Africa before so could not have arranged to meet
Tongo.

Justice Howard Riddle said "the difference in the
factual accounts were stark" before he granted bail on an
extradition warrant.

Outside the court, Anni`s family said they wanted a
trial to take place.

"We just want to see justice being done, all the
evidence being listened to and a fair trial - justice for Anni
is all we are looking for," they said and added that the
correct course of action would be for Shrien to be extradited
to South Africa.

Shrien surrendered himself to the police in Bristol
and was arrested last night.

Shrien allegedly offered money to the taxi driver to
arrange for Anni to be shot dead in a staged carjacking in a
township, according to claims outlined by a prosecutor.

Shrien, who owns a chain of care homes, dismissed the
accusations as "ludicrous".

The two were travelling through Gugulethu, a township,
when they were ambushed by two men who appeared to threaten
their driver, Zola Tongo, and ordered him out of the car
before also ejecting Anni.

She was found shot dead in the back of the car several
hours later.

Yesterday, prosecutors in South Africa publicly
accepted a signed confession from Tongo that was agreed as
part of a plea bargain deal in which he admitted murder,
aggravated robbery and kidnapping.

With Anni`s father, Vinod Hindocha, and other
relatives who had flown in from Sweden, looking on, Rodney de
Kock, the Western Cape director of public prosecutions, said
Shrien had orchestrated the murder.

He told Judge President John Hlophe: "The alleged
hijacking was in fact not a hijacking, but part of a plan of
subterfuge which Shrien Dewani, the husband of the deceased,
and the accused had designed to conceal the true facts, to
wit: that the deceased was murdered at the instance of her
husband."

Reading a lengthy confession signed by Tongo, who sat
in the dock with his head buried in his hands throughout, he
outlined how Shrien allegedly offered the driver 15,000 rand
(1,379 pounds) to plan and carry out the "hit".

"The hijacking would be simulated," the confession
claims.

"The agreement was that after the `hijacking` of the
vehicle, both Shrien Dewani and I would be ejected from the
vehicle unharmed, after which the deceased would be murdered.

"The kidnapping and robbery were part of the plan to
make it appear that this was a random criminal act,
unconnected to Shrien Dewani."

Tongo claimed that Shrien sent him a text message
while he was driving saying that the fee was hidden behind a
seat.

Tongo was jailed for 18 years for his role in the
killing as part of the deal, avoiding a likely life sentence.

He will give evidence at the trials of Xolile Mngeni,
23, and Mzwamadoda Qwabe, 25.

Tongo alleges he helped recruit them to carry out the
carjacking.

They are accused of murder, kidnapping and aggravated
robbery.

Shrien`s spokesman, Max Clifford, described the
allegations as "outrageous" and said that, while he had been
warned to expect the latest turn of events, he was
"devastated".

PTI