Durban - The murder trial of local business tycoon Rajive Soni resumed at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday, with the testimony of a cellphone expert.
Soni is on trial for the murder of prominent local doctor Bhavish Sewram. Sewram, 33, was gunned down outside his Chota Motala Road surgery on May 13, 2013.
It is alleged Soni orchestrated Sewram’s murder after discovering that the doctor was allegedly having an affair with his wife, Kerusha.
It is alleged that Soni paid a former policeman, Brian Treasurer, to commit the murder. Treasurer in turn secured the services of Mfaniseni Nxumalo and Sabelo Dlamini (the eventual triggerman) to kill Sewram.
Dlamini pleaded guilty to his role in the murder, and is serving life in prison, while the trial of Treasurer and Nxumalo was separated from Soni’s.
Treasurer and Nxumalo were both convicted of the murder by Judge Anton van Zyl, and are currently serving lengthy prison terms.
Soni has denied the allegations and maintains his innocence.
The trial kicked off on Sunday with Soni’s new legal representation placing themselves on record.Soni has hired two criminal law heavy hitters, advocates Christo van Schalkwyk SC and Jimmy Howse.
Soni was previously represented by advocate Naren Sangham, until he withdrew from the case at the previous court proceedings.
Testifying for the State on Monday was MTN law enforcement liaison division manager, Dharmesh Kanti, who gave evidence relating to a call made from Treasurer’s cellphone to Soni’s on the day of the murder.
At his trial, Treasurer explained that the phone call from him to Soni was an “accidental” call, which went straight to voicemail.
Kanti confirmed that a call was placed from a cellphone registered to Treasurer, to Soni’s handset at 7.11pm on the night of Sewram’s murder.
This call went straight to voicemail and lasted 12 seconds.
Dlamini, who testified at Treasurer’s trial, said that after Sewram’s murder, he heard Treasurer make a phone call to an unknown person, saying the “job was done”.
Dlamini is expected to be called as a witness in Soni’s trial next week.