The alleged mastermind behind the murder of former councillor Sunil Brijmohan was also his business manager and a family friend.
Vikash Brian Sewnath, 45, (also known as Baladeva Dasa) appeared in the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
He was remanded in custody pending his bail application next week.
The State will oppose bail.
Brijmohan, 46, was shot dead in Amanzimtoti in October last year. Shortly after his killing, police arrested five suspects who were charged with his murder.
Two of the five suspects pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
Police acted on information when they arrested Sewnath at his relatives’ home in Orient Hills, Isipingo, on Saturday evening.
Outside court on Monday, Brijmohan’s family and friends rallied with placards calling for swift justice. Many wore T-shirts bearing Brijmohan’s picture.
His mother, Suminthra Brijmohan, said the family was grateful to the police for pursuing the case and arresting the alleged mastermind.
"We believe we are one step closer to getting justice for my son. It was so difficult to come face to face with the man who my son treated like a brother. He went to Sunil’s home and shared meals with the family.
“During the funeral and the subsequent prayers, this man was helping us. He even made a garland that hangs on my dead son’s memorial picture," she said.
Suminthra Brijmohan described life without her son as “torture for me and his siblings”. “We miss him dearly. I just pray that a proper investigation is done and the truth is finally told.”
Sewnath's family declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Brijmohan’s family and friends took to social media shortly after Sewnath’s court appearance, condemning him (Sewnath) for 'portraying' himself as a devout Hare Krishna Devotee.
Ugly words were also exchanged outside the court in this regard
Under his Facebook profile, Sewnath goes by the name Baladeva Dasa (Vickash).
Yesterday, Krsangi Radhe dasi, communications director for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) SA, said Sewnath was not an “an active or leading member of the Hare Krishna Movement”.
She said the organisation offered condolences and prayers to the Brijmohan family.
“The teachings and culture of the Hare Krishna Movement promote care and protection of all living entities, never the abuse of anyone, at any level.
“Anyone who engages in such criminal activity will face the law of karma (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction). The perpetrators will face the consequences of their action, which is now left to the legal system,” said Radhe dasi.