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A Pietermaritzburg businessman alleged to be the mastermind behind the murder of a prominent doctor is trying to exonerate himself by investigating another motive for the killing - that the doctor had life insurance amounting to R33 million.
On Monday, Bhavish Sewram’s alleged killers, businessman Rajive Soni, ex-policeman Brian Treasurer, alleged trigger man Sabelo Dlamini and alleged “middleman” Mfaniseni Nxumalo, were meant to stand trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
However, Soni’s attorney, Naren Sangham, successfully applied for a postponement so that his investigators could look into information about Sewram’s life cover.
Sangham told the court he had been told that Sewram’s wife and her father were the trustees of a trust held at First National Bank.
He said policies had been taken out between a year and 18 months before the doctor’s death.
“Without suggesting any impropriety, it creates a further motive for the death of the deceased.”
Sangham also said the broker’s name and the name of the bank had been given to state advocate Sandesh Sankar, who had done nothing with the information.
The State has alleged that Soni hired Treasurer, who in turn hired the other two men, to kill the doctor, because Soni had been having an affair with the doctor’s wife, Kerusha.
Sangham also brought an application for Judge Isaac Madondo to recuse himself because he had been the judge in a civil matter two years ago involving Soni and his wife.
Madondo did not rule on this.
Sankar opposed both the applications and accused Sangham of using “delaying tactics”.
He said the life policies had been brought to his attention. The investigating officer had probed the matter and said he could not find any substance to the “rumours”.
Those who had allegedly taken out the policies had been questioned and would testify under oath that they knew nothing about them.
He added that Soni was trying to establish another motive as to why Sewram had been killed, but the State’s case was that all four accused had conspired to have the doctor killed.
Judge Madondo said he felt that Sangham and his client were entitled to question the information they had, if it existed.
He had to allow the investigation by Sangham, so that the accused could have a fair trial.
Since Dlamini and Nxumalo are in custody awaiting trial, the judge allowed two weeks for the investigation to take place.
Soni and Treasurer are out on bail.
The case was adjourned to March 17. - The Mercury