| Amarjit Chohan with Nancy and elder son Devinder. (Reuters)
London, May 4: The unusual murder of a rich Indian businessman is currently gripping Britain.
Amarjit Chohan went missing with his wife, two young children and his mother-in-law in mid-February. Last week, his body was found floating in the sea, and now police have named two Englishmen who are thought to have killed the whole family.
The tale turned macabre at the weekend. The police are digging up remote farmland near Tiverton, Devon, where 46-year-old Chohan was buried at some point after his murder. He lived in Hounslow, west London, and employed 22 staff at his company Ciba Freight, which imports fruits and vegetables from Africa and had a turnover of £4 million.
To most people, the Chohans were a typical Punjabi family. On February 16, Chohan vanished. So did his wife, Nancy, 25, his sons, Devinder and Ravinder, aged 17 months and three months, respectively, and his mother-in-law, Charanjit Kaur, 51.
The alarm was raised by Nancy’s brother in New Zealand, Onkar Verma, who became suspicious when he failed to get the daily telephone call from his sister. He flew over to London, went to the Chohan house in Hounslow and found clean clothes had been left in the washing machine and that the children had not taken their favourite toys.
Chohan’s staff at his firm received three letters from their boss in France in which he complained he was “fed up” with life in England and decided to take his family back to India. But his bank account had been left untouched and the police dismissed the typed letters as bad forgeries.
Then on April 22, Chohan’s body was found floating in the sea off the pier in Bournmouth. It was so badly decomposed that it took until Thursday for forensic tests to confirm the identity.
The police, who are normally very cautious about making allegations, have named two Englishmen, Kenneth Regan, 54, (also known as William Avery) who has been a lorry driver for Chohan for more than a year, and his friend, William Horncy, 51, in connection with the murder. The men have criminal records and are said to be “violent and dangerous”.
The officer leading the investigation, detective chief inspector Norman McInley, said: “Following inquiries over a number of weeks, including before the discovery of Mr Chohan’s body, I am satisfied Ken Regan and William Horncy are involved in the murder of Amarjit Chohan and are also involved in the disappearance of the missing members of Mr Chohan’s family.”
The wanted men are believed to have fled to France.
There is much speculation about the motives, ranging from kidnap and ransom to a crooked deal between Chohan and the two Englishmen, which went wrong.
A white tent has been erected in the corner of the field in Devon where officers are sieving gravel to hunt for clues.
McInley said: “There is evidence a body or bodies have been in this area. As far as Mr Chohan is concerned, he was killed, was brought here to be buried, was dug up and put into the sea.”