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Nafisa Joseph’s fiancé will face trial

Thursday, 15 September 2005 - 2:54am IST | Place: Mumbai

Court dismisses plea for discharge by Gautam Khanduja, businessman accused of instigating suicide of his former fiancée and ex-Miss India

The sessions court has dismissed a plea for discharge filed by Gautam Khanduja, the city-based businessman accused of instigating the suicide of his former fiancée and ex-Miss India Nafisa Joseph.

The court order paves the way for Khanduja's trial in the year-old suicide case.

Nafisa, a model and MTV VJ, hanged herself in her Versova flat on July 29, 2004.

Observing that Nafisa, 25, was "quite an intelligent girl who would not have committed suicide at a stage when her career was blooming, unless circumstances compelled her," Additional Sessions Judge SB Gaikwad said, "It is seen that the cause of her suicide was the alleged conduct of the accused."

Whether his conduct amounted to instigation will be decided in the trial, the order, dated August 24, said.

Nafisa was engaged to Khanduja in 2004 and the couple was planning a quick wedding. Khanduja, who was married before, had told Nafisa he had divorced his wife. But his refusal to show the divorce papers was the cause for discord.

Following an argument, Khanduja allegedly refused to marry Nafisa. By then, wedding cards had been sent. According to the prosecution, Khanduja's decision to call off the wedding led Nafisa into depression and finally drove her to suicide.

"Prima facie, there is sufficient material to frame the charge against the accused," the judge ruled.

"We are going to challenge the order in the Bombay high court," Khanduja's lawyer Dipesh Mehta told DNA. Khanduja is currently out on bail.

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