SCA rules against PMB killer Rajivee Soni, says he was set on ’exacting revenge’
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Durban - Pietermaritzburg businessman Rajivee Soni has lost his appeal against his conviction for the 2013 murder of Dr Bhavish Sewram.
This week, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the murder conviction handed down to the businessman in 2018.
Sewram, a father of two, was gunned down outside his surgery on May 13, 2013 in Raisethorpe, Pietermaritzburg.
However, Soni’s jail sentence of 30 years, which was handed down in October 2018, has been reduced to 23 years and 7 months.
In addition, he was acquitted on charges of assault and defeating the ends of justice.
Soni has been out on R400 000 bail since March 2020.
The judgment noted that Soni had served almost 17 months in prison before his release on bail.
Soni believed that his wife, Kerusha, and Sewram were involved in a romantic relationship.
He enlisted the help of former policeman Brian Treasurer. Treasurer, who was serving a life sentence, died in prison.
Treasure had explained to hitmen Mfaniseni Nxumalo how the killing was to be executed. Nxumalo is also serving a life sentence.
Sabelo Dlamini pleaded guilty to the murder and received a 25-year sentence.
On September 19, 2018, the Pietermaritzburg High Court found Soni guilty on six charges including murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
The five judges who heard the appeal said the 25 years’ imprisonment imposed by the trial court for Dr Sewram’s murder did not appear to be “shockingly inappropriate”.
“It is an appropriate and salutary sentence which is balanced and fair, and which also takes into account the moral indignation of the community.”
The court also found that Soni persisted on exacting revenge and ultimately conspired and embarked on a campaign to kill Sewram, which resulted in his cold-blooded murder.
The court ruled that “never once” did Soni shrink back from a campaign involving several schemes. He, ultimately, procured the murder of the deceased through the hands of hired assassins.
“He embarked on this conduct over a period of time, until he avenged the deceased’s alleged affair with his wife, using corrupt policemen to do his bidding and using his money as a means to an end.”