Sushil Sharma (in white) being escorted to court in New Delhi on November 6.
Photo: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images
The phrase 'What's cooking' took on a new meaning on the night of July 2, 1995.
What was cooking at the open-air Bagiya restaurant at the Ashok Yatri Nivas (now the Indraprastha Hotel), New Delhi, was Naina Sahni's body.
Her husband Sushil Sharma, then Delhi Youth Congress president, had killed her and decided that the best way to hide the crime was to dispose the body in a tandoor.
But he did not succeed.
Delhi police constable Abdul Nazir Kunju and Home Guard Chanderpal saw smoke emanating from the restaurant and got suspicious. They scaled the boundary wall and entered the restaurant and found the body in the oven.
Keshav Kumar, the restaurant manager who was helping Sharma, was arrested but Sharma fled. He surrendered in Bangalore on July 10, 1995.
The trial saw as many twists and turns as a thriller movie -- it got stalled in August 2000 after Sharma moved the Delhi high court following the transfer of Additional Sessions Judge G P Thareja, who was hearing the case, from a criminal to a civil court; at one point six lawyers refused to defend Sharma; two autopsies were conducted on the body, and both showed different results; there were over 450 hearings.
Finally, on November 7, 2003, justice was delivered. Judge Thareja handed the death sentence to Sharma; Kumar was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Text: Salil Kumar
Murder most foul