Murder suspects, from left, Dhanaseelan Manikam, Rajendran Chetty, attorney Jayshree Baijnath, Shana Mangroo, and advocate Veronica Rathilal at a court appearance this week. Warrant Officer Rajan Govender is at the back. Picture: Niney Ruthnam

Durban - Jayshree Pillay came face to face on Friday with the group of high-profile suspects who allegedly hired a hit man to kill her husband. What was even more disturbing for the widow was that she recognised some of them as close family friends.

Pillay was at the Durban Magistrate’s Court, where six of the seven suspects appeared before magistrate John Moore in connection with the killing of her money lender husband, Narend Anandrai.

Jayshree Baijnath, a practising attorney, Shana Mangroo, a businesswoman, Dhanaseelan Manikam, the owner of a panel beating shop, Rajendran Chetty, the owner of a printing and catering business, Veronica Rathilal, an advocate in private practice, Logandren Francis, who runs a panel beating business, and policeman Claude Reginald were granted bail. Reginald was unable to attend the proceedings owing to his health.

All the suspects, except Francis, told the court, through written affidavits read out by their attorneys, that they were able to raise R10 000 for bail.

The affidavits also explained why they should be granted bail and their intention to plead not guilty to the murder charge they face.

Francis, represented by attorney Siven Samuel, said he could only afford R5 000.

State prosecutor, Advocate Nadira Moosa, did not object to bail being granted, but asked Moore to set it at R10 000 for Francis and R50 000 for the others.

Moosa based her request for bail on the suspects’ admissions about their earnings and their assets.

Moosa added: “In less than 24 hours they were able to raise amounts between R5 000 and R10 000, if they are given more time they would be able to raise R50 000.”

Her request drew murmurs of approval from the packed gallery, most of whom were friends and family of Anandrai.

Moore granted bail according to the request of each suspect.

Afterwards Pillay, who had to be consoled by family and friends, said she was disappointed.

Her pain intensified when she saw three people she considered close family friends, standing with the accused.

“They were like family. My husband helped them a lot. My husband treated one of them to a holiday to India in December,” said Pillay.

Pillay said she was disappointed and upset that the accused were given bail.

“They got bail and are free to be with their family, but I’m left without my husband,” she said about the father of three.

Anandrai was shot by Gregory Pillay as he drove up to his Chatsworth home after which the car burst into flames.

Pillay had already confessed in court to having been hired to carry out the hit.

He was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for killing Anandrai.

Last weekend, the suspects gave themselves up to warrant officers Sagie “Jomo” Govender and Rajan Govender of the Provincial Specific Crimes Unit, who are leading the investigation.

Francis was arrested on Wednesday.

Police linked the suspects to the killing through an analysis of their cellphone activity.

They expect to make more arrests.

The matter was postponed in court until October 1.

- Sunday Tribune