A MEMBER of one of Britain's wealthiest families entered into a suicide pact with his new wife after marrying in secret, an inquest was told yesterday.
Dharam Hinduja, 22, suffered horrific burns and died days later. His wife pulled out of the pact in an attempt to save his life.
He had married Ninotchka Sargon, a Roman Catholic Australian, also 22, at Chelsea Register Office in January, but fled the country for Mauritius fearing his Hindu family's disapproval, Westminster coroner's court heard. He was defying the tradition of an arranged marriage.
Michael Bevan, the coroner's officer, said: 'Objections to the marriage on the part of his family prevented the couple living together and he decided that if they were going to have a life together, they would need to go and live in another country.'
Mr Hinduja, the son of Srichand Hinduja, head of a business empire worth pounds 1.3bn, arrived on the island via Bombay and his wife flew from London. They met in Mauritius on 14 May.
His wife later told police they entered a suicide pact after local newspapers carried an article about Mr Hinduja's disappearance from Britain.
Mr Hinduja sprinkled his wife with a flammable liquid and tied her to their hotel bed. He covered himself in the liquid and set himself alight. However, his wife then freed herself and attempted to put out the flames with a blanket.
Suffering 70 per cent burns, Mr Hinduja was flown to Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, where he died on 19 May after two days of intensive treatment.
The coroner, Dr Paul Knapman, recorded a verdict of suicide on Mr Hinduja, of Carlton House Terrace, Westminster, London.
Mr Hinduja's parents, whose fortune is based on property and an import/export business, did not attend. His wife is thought to have left the country.
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