Maxwell Pereira, who headed the team that investigated the tandoor murder case of Delhi, tells the inside story of one of India’s most sensational cases in a new book.
In “The Tandoor Murder”, Pereira provides nuggets of information and insights into the way policing and the legal and political systems work.
Naina Sahni’s murder and the discovery of her body being burnt in a tandoor in a restaurant in the heart of Delhi shook the country’s conscience and galvanised the criminal and justice system.
What exactly happened on the night of the murder? How did the accused, Sushil Sharma, Naina’s partner and Youth Congress leader, manage to stave off conviction for close to a decade? What were the twists and turns in the case and how did the investigation manage to stay the course?
Mr. Pereira, who was in charge of the case, provides answers to these questions and an insider’s account of events as they unfolded, based on his notes and investigation reports as well as the many stories that appeared in the media.
The accused was awarded death penalty by a sessions court and the sentence was confirmed by the Delhi High Court but was commuted in 2013 to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court.
The book is published by Context, an imprint of Westland Publications Pvt. Ltd, and will release next month.
“The manuscript was held back by me till the culmination of the trial and all appeals in the interest of not jeopardising the process in any manner,” says Pereira.
According to Westland CEO Gautam Padmanabhan, “This is an unusual book that captures the realty of policing and the complexities of the judicial system in India.”
Sharma had shot his wife Naina to death in 1995 objecting to her alleged relationship with a male friend. He had then chopped her body into pieces and attempted to burn it in the restaurant’s oven.
The tandoor murder case is one of the landmark cases in India in which DNA evidence and a second autopsy were used to establish the guilt of the accused.