3 Arrested Over NRI’s Death in Delhi

Hemant Chawla, an American citizen of Indian origin, was found dead at his friend’s house in New Delhi in July.


A third person was arrested on Dec, 5, a day after two people were held for the murder of a Non-resident Indian in New Delhi’s upscale New Friends Colony area in July.

Hemant Chawla, a 42-year-old American citizen, had returned to India after taking a sabbatical from work. He was a financial analyst who came to India after his father passed away, according to the police, to take care of his 72-year-old mother.

“The arrests were made after several rounds of questioning. Further investigations are on,” DCP (Crime Branch) G Ramgopal Naik told the media after the first two arrests. Police said they are probing if Chawla’s sexual orientation was a factor in his murder.

“Tasim and Pritam Saini alias Sonu have been arrested. Nitin Sabherwal will also be arrested but he is currently admitted in a hospital,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Alok Kumar had said then. Sabherwal was finally arrested on Dec. 5.

Chawla was found dead at Sabherwal’s house in New Friends Colony. Sabherwal had claimed that Chawla consumed drugs and alcohol that led to his death but forensic reports revealed that he was manually strangulated. Tasiam and Saini were present in the house that night.

Sabherwal had called Chawla’s driver, Balwant Singh, to inform him about the death in the early hours of July 4. Singh then called Chawla’s sister Shivani, and mother, both of whom were in London at the time, the Hindu reported.

“Balwant saw Hemant’s body lying on the floor and he was shirtless. We immediately asked him to inform our cousins and friends and bring them to the house. I also spoke to Nitin and asked him what happened,” Shivani said. “What made the whole situation extremely suspicious was why did they not call the doctor and why did he inform Balwant about Hemant’s death after nearly two hours,” she added.

The police suspected foul play and preserved the body for post-mortem. The medical report said that the cause of death was asphyxiation and there were no drugs in Chawla’s body. However, the FIR was filed only after Shivani went to the Commissioner of Police. The case was then taken up by the crime branch.

The police are still investigating the motive behind the murder. The family thinks that Chawla was demanding that Sabherwal return the huge loan worth crores that he had taken for a real estate deal.

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