Tandoori murder case a rival for O J Simpson case

Police claim Sharma stuffed wife's body into the oven

NELSON GRAVES

Reuters

New Delhi - Few Indians have heard of O J Simpson but anyone who reads an Indian newspaper has heard of Sushil Sharma.

Mr Sharma is accused of a gruesome crime dubbed the "Tandoori Murder". A tandoor is a deep earthen oven used since Mogul times in north Indian cooking. On the night of 2 July, the body of Mr Sharma's dismembered wife, Naina Sahni, was discovered propped up inside a flaming tandoori oven in a New Delhi restaurant.

The grisly nature of the crime, which Mr Sharma says he did not commit, was enough in itself to capture the headlines.

But Mr Sharma's political stature - as a rising star in the ruling Congress party - and his efforts to implicate political rivals have turned the incident into a cause celebre.

Given the intense media glare, the tandoori case has been compared to the O J Simpson double-murder trial in Los Angeles. Sunday magazine drew comparisons between Mr Simpson and Mr Sharma, head of Youth Congress in New Delhi. Both accused were known to be jealous. Both allegedly abused their wives. Both left the cities where the crimes were committed shortly after the victims were killed. And both have lawyers who claim their clients were framed by police.

But there could be a crucial difference. "As the trial has gone on, it has become clear that many Americans want O J Simpson to be acquitted," Sunday said. "In India, however, the clamour is to hang Sushil Sharma."

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) intends to try to make political hay out of the scandal. "I don't think this is an isolated incident," BJP general secretary K L Sharma said. "This is the culture being pursued by the Youth Congress."

The police charge sheet against Mr Sharma sketches out the gut-wrenching details of Naina Sahni's final moments, a senior police official said.

Police claim that Mr Sharma returned to his flat, checking to see if his wife had been in contact with her alleged lover. He pushed a button on the telephone which automatically redialled the last number called.

When Mr Sharma discovered that the last call had been to the man's home, he allegedly went into a rage, shooting Sahni twice with his Armenius .32 calibre revolver, the police say.

The charge sheet says that after wrapping the body in a plastic table- cloth and a bedsheet, Mr Sharma went to the Bagiya restaurant and with the help of a worker, stuffed the corpse into the tandoori oven. Police later found it charred beyond recognition.

When he was arrested 10 days later in southern India, his head shaved, Mr Sharma said he had left Delhi on a pilgrimage. He is now in judicial custody awaiting a trial date.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvSpoiler alert: It has been talked about for months
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington
tv
Voices
Almost one in 10 of British soliders fall victim to serious psychiatric side-effects after being prescribed Lariam.
CHRISTMAS APPEALThis is how one charity is using that 'waste' to feed Britain's war heroes
Life and Style
Facebook has apologised after a new feature inviting users to review a collection of their 2014 highlights caused some to be confronted with pictures of their recently deceased family members and friends
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Property Manager

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Junior Property Manager in a yo...

Recruitment Genius: Web Development Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Service and Installation Engineer

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: SEO / Outreach Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a global marketin...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?