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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police