Soni ‘was taken for a ride’

2015-03-21 00:00

MURDER accused Rajivee Soni was twice deceived into paying large sums of money to an ex-policeman for failed plans to ruin suspected love rival Dr Bhavish Sewram, who was later shot dead.

The Pietermaritzburg high court heard detailed evidence of this yesterday. One plan was allegedly “totally made up” to plant an illegal firearm in the doctor’s surgery, and the other a plot to “stab” Sewram, which was also never carried out.

Soni is standing trial for Sewram’s murder on May 13, 2013.

Soni’s defence attorney Naren Sangham yesterday said Soni’s defence in broad terms is that he was a “victim of extortion and blackmail”. But, he said, he would spell out Soni’s version in respect of each of the charges he faces at the end of his cross-examination of key state witness Sugen Naidoo.

Naidoo has been testifying since the trial started on March 4.

Naidoo, who admits he was a former “rogue” policeman, elaborated yesterday on how he’d conned Soni in connection with a “madeup” plan to plant an illegal firearm in Sewram’s surgery and have the doctor arrested.

Naidoo said he never intended to carry out the plan, but saw it as a money-making opportunity. His brother-in-law Morné Emersleben (an ex-policeman) was supposed to plant the gun in the surgery.

“It was never going to happen … It was a made-up plan,” Naidoo told Judge Jacqueline Henriques and assessor Gerhard Barnard.

He got Soni to give him R6 000 to buy an illegal firearm, and then produced his personal firearm, a 6,25 Star, to show the businessman.

Naidoo said he used the R6 000 to support his drug habit.

He later told Soni the plan had to be aborted because, while trying to “set things up” at the surgery, they were interrupted by Colonel Bala Naidoo of the Hawks. They were taken in for questioning and released, but the firearm was seized.

Naidoo said Soni later paid him R10 000 for his “efforts”.

According to Naidoo, Soni became very frustrated as his plans to “sort out” Sewram came to nought.

He then proposed a plan to stab Sewram. “The accused [Soni] asked me to get my brother in law [Emers­leben] to find a few coloured guys to stab and injure the doctor … To do this the price was R20 000.”

Naidoo said after Emersleben found two men to carry out the plan to stab the doctor, he gave him R4 500.

However, he said Soni was “very unhappy” that the plan did not work out.

The case will continue on Monday.

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