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Last week I told you a known story of K. M. Nanavati & Sylvia. What confuses me are the below facts…
Nanavati had moved in the same social circles of the very powerful people of that time. He had previously worked as Defence Attaché. During the time of Nanavati’s trial and sentencing, Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister of India and his sister, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, was governor of Maharashtra state.
People also found the unfolding relationships intriguing, for instance, Nanavati had known Ahuja for nearly 15 years and Sylvia stood by her husband after Ahuja’s murder.
The weekly tabloid Blitz , owned by K. Karanjia, a Parsi himself, publicised the story, published exclusive cover stories and openly supported Nanavati. They portrayed him as a wronged husband and upright officer, betrayed by a close friend. Blitz painted Nanavati’s image, as that of a man representing the ideal middle class values as against Ahuja’s playboy image, that symbolised the corruption and sleaze of the bourgeois. A copy of Blitz during the trial sold for Rs. 2 per copy, up from the normal rate of 25 paise
Nanavati spent 3 years in prison; it was feared that a pardon for him could elicit an angry reaction from the Sindhi community to which the Ahuja family belonged.
At around this time, the government received an application for pardon from Bhai Pratap, a Sindhi trader who had been a participant in the Indian independence movement, and had been convicted for misusing an import licence. Given his freedom fighter background, and the relative smallness of his offence, the government was inclined to pardon Bhai Pratap. Finally, an application seeking pardon for Nanavati was obtained even from Mamie Ahuja, sister of the deceased. She gave her assent for his pardon in writing. Vijayalakshmi Pandit, then governor of Maharashtra, pardoned Bhai Pratap and Nanavati on the same day.
No Law Broken…but I can the same happen for you and me?
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