Durban - Like Oscar Pistorius, Rajiv Narandas coughed and almost vomited in court on Friday.
He was sentenced to 18 years in jail for stabbing Veenand Singh to death outside a Sandton nightclub in July 2008, but shortly afterwards drove from the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court to Sandton City. There he posed for a happy snap with his father in front of the statue of Nelson Mandela before posting it on Facebook.
The young Durban businessman didn’t go to prison because he applied for and was granted leave to appeal against his sentence, and was released on bail. He also faces a string of other violent cases against him which have yet to be finalised.
Narandas’s performance in court annoyed the dead man’s family. It was apparently as a result of recent hernia repair surgery. He made sure to ask his lawyer for his medication.
Just after paying his bail money, Narandas stopped in front of a glass door at the court’s main entrance to prepare for the photographers waiting outside.
He fixed the black shirt he wore with a dark blue suit, checked his perfectly coiffed hair and slid on designer sunglasses.
He then took his girlfriend’s hand and the pair strutted out, as if on a catwalk, to their shiny silver Mercedes-Benz, pretending to ignore the press.
This confident Narandas, owner and chief executive of the blingy Your Highness boutique stores, was a far cry from the gagging, coughing man who sat in the dock earlier, listening to his fate.
His ailing father, Krish Narandas, sat stoically waiting for the verdict. He was elated when his son was granted bail.
Narandas clearly enjoys the finer things in life. The young bodybuilder boasts several top-of-the-range cars. including a Mercedes-Benz, an Aston Martin, and an Audi R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI Quattro, according to Auto Drift Online.
Hours after his court appearance he enjoyed some time with his father at Sandton City. He captioned it on Facebook: “One Legend behind me. Another next to me.”
His Facebook friends were not surprised he was not locked up and wearing orange. One commented: “Can’t touch this… lol.”
For Bashantha Sannasy, who was about to marry the love of her life, Veenand Singh, before he was murdered, it was an emotional day.
She cried as magistrate Renier Boshoff sentenced Narandas, but hastily left court 2 after bail was granted.
“I have been mourning Veenand for the last six years. It’s been a nightmare. All I wanted was justice. Instead he (Rajiv) will continue driving his Lamborghinis and living the high life. This is a joke. He should have been in jail today. That is where he belongs.”
Concluding a six-year trial marred by contradictory evidence and endless postponements, Boshoff found Narandas guilty of stabbing Singh, a former Altech manager and a Buccleuch resident, during a brawl in the parking lot of the Shoukara nightclub in Sandton.
Boshoff said Narandas had tailored a version of events which had changed on numerous occasions. He said his actions on the day of Singh’s death had been calculated, resulting in a senseless killing.
Boshoff said it was clear in all the evidence that Singh and his group were not at the club to fight. He said they were unarmed and composed, and that he (Singh) indicated that they wanted to leave.
The court had heard how Narandas, who was 21 at the time, rushed to his car in a fit of rage to fetch the Swiss Army knife that he used to stab Singh, 32.
Those who witnessed the altercation, including Sannasy, said Narandas had muttered something to Singh and Singh had asked what was said. That was allegedly where the fight started.
Three weapons were used.
Boshoff said Narandas was the aggressor in the fight and his “cynical laughing and calling the shots” on that night was proof of this.
“It’s quite evident that they (Narandas’s group) were looking for a fight… I accept that you did indeed fetch a knife and stabbed the deceased.
“You were part and parcel of the group (that set upon Singh).
“The deceased wanted to leave, but he was prevented from doing so and then he was stabbed,” Boshoff said.
He added that Narandas had shown no remorse.
Boshoff’s guilty verdict was welcomed with cheers and clapping from Singh’s father Roy Singh, brother Dhupendra Singh and friends who wore T-shirts with the words “Justice for Veenand Singh”.
His mother, Ishara Singh, wept inconsolably as she took the stand and described how her son had just been a promoted at the time of his death.
She said he was happy. He had promised to take care of them.
“Nothing compares to the loss of a child, especially in such an aggressive manner. We have been through so much,” she said.
Narandas’s attorney, Mannie Witz, said he would appeal.
Independent on Saturday