Police probe link of Dewani case to 2007 murder

South African police are probing a link between the Cape Town murder of the wife of a British businessman and a 2007 killing of a local doctor in similar circumstances, media reported on Sunday.

The Sunday Times said the doctor, Pox Raghavjee, was found shot dead in his car in Bhisho, a city in the Eastern Cape but nothing was stolen from him.

But his widow Heather Raghavjee, who travelled to Cape Town to comfort businessman Shrien Dewani after the murder of his wife Anni last month, said allegations of a link between the two killings were baseless.

“National police commissioner Bheki Cele confirmed yesterday that police were probing links between the 2007 killing of an Eastern Cape doctor to Anni’s murder,” said the Sunday Times.

She was killed in Gugulethu outside Cape Town, after a taxi she was travelling in with her husband was hijacked.

The hijackers released Dewani and made off with his wife. Her body was later found with a single bullet to her neck.

Dewani’s publicist Max Clifford has dismissed the possibility that his client is implicated in the murder of his wife or that of Pox Raghavjee.

‘Flimsy and ridiculous’
Heather Raghavjee on Sunday expressed shock at the allegations, in a statement issued by Clifford.

“Shrien Dewani is suffering from the tragic murder of his wife, which is made even more painful for him by horrible totally false accusations that have come out of South Africa today,” said the statement.

“There is absolutely no substance in these allegations, and my heart goes out to the young lad.”

Clifford earlier lashed out at the claims, branding them “flimsy and ridiculous”.

“If it wasn’t so tragic it would be a farce, a comedy,” he said.

“Heather Raghavjee flew from King William’s Town in South Africa to Cape Town to try to comfort the family at the request of her daughter-in-law Alvita, who lives in the Bristol area and knew the Dewani family,” he said.

“She had never met Shrien before in her life. But she experienced what he experienced when her husband, Dr Pox Raghavjee, was shot dead in a carjacking three years earlier,” he added.

Plea bargain
One of the men who had been arrested for the killing, Zola Tongo, turned state witness and implicated Dewani in his wife’s murder.

He claimed that he was approached by the Briton whom he met at Cape Town airport and was promised R15 000 rand “to remove someone off the scene”.

Tongo’s plea bargain documents reveal that the attack was in fact part of a plan devised together with Dewani to conceal the murder.

He claimed that Dewani mentioned he had arranged a fake hijacking in the country before.

Police have also seized three sets of CCTV footage showing two separate meetings at a Cape Town hotel between Dewani and Tongo and records of text messages between the two men, which were exchanged before the murder, said the paper.

According to a Sunday Times special report, Dewani conned a luxury game lodge where the couple stayed before travelling to Cape Town to give him a discounted rate.

He pretended to be a travel consultant in order to qualify for a special accommodation rate at Chitwa Chitwa lodge, near the Kruger National Park.

He paid R3 000 rand for three nights instead of a fee of R36 000.

Dewani has denied any involvement in his wife’s murder after his arrest in Bristol last week.—Sapa-AFP


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