S.African cops probe link of Dewani case to 2007 murder

12th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

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

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

His widow, Heather Raghavjee, travelled to Cape Town to comfort businessman Shrien Dewani after the murder of his wife Anni last month, the paper said.

"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 paper.

She was killed in a poor suburb 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.

One of the men who have 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 promised 15,000 rand (2,175 dollars) "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 famous Kruger National Park.

He paid 3,000 rand (439 dollars/332 euros) for three nights instead of a fee of 36,000 rand.

Shrien has denied any involvement in the murder after his arrest in Bristol last week.

© 2010 AFP

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