Couple ‘Arranged’ Adopted Indian Son Murder for £150k Pay-Out

A London-based couple faces allegations of having their adopted Indian son murdered in order to obtain a £150,000 life insurance pay-out.

Couple 'Arranged' Adopted Indian Son Murder for £150k Pay-Out f

"she would be paid 10 times the insured amount."

Arti Dhir, aged 55, and Kaval Raijada, aged 30, of West London, face calls to be extradited to India following accusations that they arranged for their adopted Indian son to be murdered.

Indian authorities believe that the couple arranged for their 11-year-old son to be killed for a £150,000 insurance pay-out.

Both Dhir and Raijada deny the allegations.

In February 2017, Gopal Sejani had been abducted by two men on motorbikes before he was stabbed and left on a road in Gujarat. He died of his injuries later that month.

Britain has rejected requests to extradite the couple to face trial in India on human rights grounds.

But the Indian government has been granted leave to appeal the decision.

Dhir and Raijada had travelled to Keshod, Gujarat to adopt an orphan in 2015.

According to court documents, they had placed a newspaper advert, promising that they would take an adopted child to live in London.

This led to them meeting Gopal, who was living with his older sister and her husband Harsukh Kardani.

They agreed to his adoption because they believed the boy would have a better life in the UK.

However, Indian police say that the couple immediately took out an insurance policy in Gopal’s name. The policy would payout after 10 years, or in the event of his death.

Dhir made two payments of £15,000, allegedly knowing that the claim would pay them £150,000.

Superintendent Saurab Singh of Junagadh Police told the BBC:

“After a few days she took out an insurance policy in his name.

“It was a huge amount and she paid two premiums, knowing very well that in the event of Gopal’s death, she would be paid 10 times the insured amount.”

The couple returned to the UK but Gopal remained in Gujarat while visa documents were arranged for him.

On February 8, 2017, the adopted Indian son was kidnapped, stabbed and left on a road by two men on motorbikes. Mr Kardani tried to defend Gopal and was also attacked.

Both were taken to hospital where they died later that month.

Couple 'Arranged' Adopted Indian Son Murder for £150k Pay-Out

Indian authorities have alleged that there have been two unsuccessful murder attempts on the boy in the past. The insurance policy never paid out.

Indian police arrested a man who they said was a friend of Dhir and Raijada. The suspect is one of four people arrested in India for their alleged involvement.

Dhir and Raijada face six charges in India, including conspiracy to murder and kidnapping.

In June 2017, the couple were arrested following a request from the Indian government.

However, on July 2, 2019, a judge at Westminister Magistrates’ Court refused their extradition on human rights grounds.

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot found sufficient evidence to justify their extradition but ruled that it would against the couple’s human rights as the sentence for double murder in Gujarat is life without parole.

She went on to say that the “irreducible sentence” would be “inhuman and degrading”.

The couple remain on bail pending an appeal which is set to be heard in early 2020.

Superintendent Singh said:

“We are trying our best. This is a very serious offence that has taken place in India.”

“We want the two accused to be brought here to face trial in an Indian court as per the Indian laws, and for this, we are trying our best to assist the UK court.”

Even if the appeal is unsuccessful, the chief magistrate explained that it was “not impossible” that Dhir and Raijada could be prosecuted in the UK, if there was evidence that an agreement to murder was made in the UK.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

Image courtesy of Hanif Khokhar