Soni’s day of denial

Raijvee Soni

Repeatedly replying “never” Soni distanced himself from the evidence of previous state witnesses, some already convicted for their role in Sewram’s death.
State advocate Johan du Toit yesterday questioned the businessman in detail about his relationship with one of the state’s key witnesses, former rogue Mountain Rise policeman Sugen Naidoo, who had testified in length and detail alleging Soni had conspired with him to drive Sewram out of town.
Naidoo’s testimony that he and Soni had been friends for 24 years was dismissed with contempt, with Soni telling the court that Naidoo had fabricated the friendship. He said he wasn’t friends with Naidoo but with Naidoo’s wife, Chantel.
“This is a lie! I was friends with his wife for this period of time; I think he may be confused,” said Soni in an attempt to distance himself from Naidoo’s allegations that they had conspired to plant R40 000 worth of drugs in the doctor’s medical practice and engaged in other acts to drive Dr Sewram out of the city.
Soni denied having visited Naidoo’s home or having bought cement for the construction of a wall at Naidoo’s home.

But despite his attempts to distance Naidoo’s claims that the two were friends, Soni later admitted to visiting Naidoo in hospital and having paid for an expensive gaming console for the policeman’s son.
It also emerged in court that Soni made over 400 calls to a number, the State claims was linked to Naidoo, but whom Soni’s defence yesterday said actually belonged to Naidoo’s wife.
“I was good friends with his wife (Chantal) and was in contact with her as she was helping me with a business venture regarding the SAPS’ accommodation needs,” testified Soni.
Soni also denied meeting self-confessed hitman Sabelo Dlamini and Mfaniseni Nxumalo who have already been convicted for their roles in Dr Sewram’s murder. He admitted knowing convicted murderer former policeman Brian Treasurer but said he had limited interactions with him.
“I knew Brian Treasurer from the time I was 12 as he frequented my father’s night club but had lost contact with him once it closed down when I was 19 years-old…Brian and I then met at the Royal Show Grounds in 2011 by coincidence. He informed me that he was opening a crèche in Copesville and asked if I was still in the construction business,” testified Soni. He continued that Treasurer later bought building materials from his sister’s hardware shop on credit and that he would only ever phone him to ask for payment.
“I was not directly or indirectly involved in any aspect of the murder or harassment of Bhavish Sewram,” stated Soni.
On Monday, Soni, dropped a bombshell on his first day in the stand at the start of the defence’s case, alleging that Sewram’s mother-in-law assaulted the doctor with a sjambok after it emerged that Sewram and Soni’s wife Kerusha were involved in a relationship after he discovered BBM text messages between the two. After returning from a holiday in Thailand Kerusha and Sewram were taken to a meeting with the families involved.
“Pritha Singh, Yuvadia’s mother, began to whip Bhavish with a sjambok and after a while I wanted to leave but not before Yuvadia booted my wife out the house,” said Soni.
The families then met again, without Dr Sewram, at Soni’s house where Yuvadia provided Soni with phone records that showed proof of Dr Sewram’s calls to Kerusha going back 18 months. The trial is before Judge Jacqualine Hendricks.


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