Bail: Alleged plot to kill wife 'not a strong case'

2009-09-22 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG man Nireshan Sokalingam (31), who is charged with conspiring with a hit man to murder his wife and make it appear as if the attack was a rape and robbery, has been granted bail of R2 000 by a Pietermaritzburg magistrate.

Magistrate Divesh Mootheram agreed with submissions by Sokalingam’s advocate, Brad Osborne, that the state’s case against Sokalingam does “not appear to be very strong”.

He said that although the state has a prima facie case against Sokalingam, it emerged from the evidence of the investigating officer, Inspector Sizwe Aubrey Makhathini, yesterday that the case is based on the say-so of a single witness — the man Sokalingam allegedly approached to carry out the murder.

Makhathini testified that the witness is afraid of Sokalingam, but he said there is no direct evidence that Sokalingam has threatened him either directly or indirectly.

This was the policeman’s only objection to Sokalingam being given bail.

Makhathini testified at the bail hearing that he was called to his office on August 22 this year and introduced to an “informer”. The man told him he had been approached by Sokalingam who wanted him to murder his wife.

Makhathini said permission was obtained to record phone conversations between the two men, and this was subsequently done.

He said the plan to murder Sokalingam’s wife was “clear” from the subsequent recor­ded conversations even though Sokalingam did not himself use the word “kill” in relation to his wife.

The killing was in fact referred to by the “hit man”.

He said it is alleged that Sokalingam took the “hit man” to his home and handed him a set of keys as well as a remote control for the gate.

Sokalingam will appear on October 27.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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