Did slain doctor have huge policy?

2014-03-18 00:00

INTRIGUE is growing over the murder of city medical doctor Bhavish Sew­ram as the defence for one of his alleged killers claimed yesterday to have proof that the doctor’s life was insured for at least R20 million.

In addition, it was also revealed that one of the four accused on trial for Sewram’s murder is considering entering a guilty plea in the case. The Pietermaritzburg high court was not told which of the accused it was.

After yesterday’s hearing Sewram’s widow Yuvadia again angrily rejected the allegation that her husband’s life was insured for R20 million.

“I find it absurd they are still digging into this … There is no policy or policies to that amount,” she insisted to The Witness. She did not want to reveal how much her husband’s life was insured for, but said it was “just a normal amount”.

“We persist in our denial that these are scandalous and untrue allegations,” her lawyer, Siva Chetty, said.

Pietermaritzburg attorney, Naren Sangham earlier placed on record before Judge Isaac Madondo and assessors that his investigator has confirmed the existence of at least one life insurance policy over the doctor’s life worth R20 million.

He didn’t identify the beneficiary.

Sangham also said they were awaiting information on other policies.

In relation to the R20 million policy, he told the court that the policy has not been paid out yet and was still the subject of an independent investigation by the insurance company.

The Witness has learnt that the alleged policy was taken out with Clientele Life and that the company was allegedly informed of the doctor’s death in a shooting incident on May 23 last year, ten days after Sewram’s murder.

The company has apparently asked for police documents relating to the shooting as part of its inquiry before deciding whether it is prepared to make payment.

Sangham — who represents business­person Rajivee Soni, who is fingered by the prosecution as being the mastermind behind Sewram’s murder — previously told the court that the existence of life insurance policies on the doctor’s life could “provide an alternative motive” for his murder.

The defence was acting on information that policies existed to the tune of R33 million, he said then.

The suggestion was rejected by State advocate Sandesh Sankar, who said police had looked into rumours about the existence of big life insurance policies on Sewram’s life, but found no evidence of them. He rejected the allegations as a “figment of someone’s imagination”.

He also said the State was confident that the correct accused were on trial for the doctor’s murder.

The State alleges that Soni orchestrated the murder due to anger over his suspicion that his wife Kerusha had an affair with his former friend Sewram.

He allegedly hired his three co-accused, former policeman, Brian Treasurer, Sabelo Dlamini and Mfaniseni Nxumalo to carry out the “hit”.

Sewram was gunned down as he left his surgery in Chota Motala Road on May 13 last year.

The murder followed an alleged vendetta in which the doctor was allegedly “stalked”, received death threats, false charges were laid against him in court and he was shot at with a paintball gun.

The State alleges that when the campaign to drive him out of town failed, Soni plotted to have him murdered.

The suggestion that one of the accused might plead guilty to at least some charges also emanated from Sangham yesterday when he objected to an application by the State to separate the case of Soni from that of his three co-accused.

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