Flashy heir ‘shuns baths, feigns ill­ness to do a Sch­abir Shaik’

Sunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JEFF WICKS

Why killer is de­lib­er­ately rot­ting in jail

Ra­jiv Naran­das was the ul­ti­mate spoilt rich kid.

The Dur­ban heir to an em­pire of jew­ellery and cloth­ing stores had a pen­chant for flashy cars — his col­lec­tion in­cluded an Audi R8 “wrapped” to make it look golden, and a matt-black Mercedes — tai­lored silk shirts to show off his biceps and de­signer per­fume.

But to­day, in his or­ange prison over­alls, Naran­das, 31 — who is just over a year into a 15-year sen­tence for the 2008 mur­der of Veenand Singh, 32 — is lit­er­ally rot­ting in jail, an­ger­ing in­mates and prison warders be­cause he re­fuses to bathe or brush his teeth.

He has al­ready come to blows with a fel­low pris­oner over his mal­odour.

But that hasn’t stopped Naran­das, who, af­ter a six-year trial and a failed bid in the Con­sti­tu­tional Court to over­turn his con­vic­tion, is said to be try­ing ev­ery trick in the book to get out of Westville Prison’s Medium B Sec­tion.

Naran­das stabbed Singh to death in a park­ing lot af­ter an ar­gu­ment in­side the Shoukara night­club in Sand­ton.

Naran­das’s ne­glect of hy­giene, ac­cord­ing to four in­de­pen­dent sources in the prison, is part of a plot to stay in the prison hos­pi­tal un­til he can be re­leased on med­i­cal pa­role.

“There is only one bath­room here and we’ve never seen him go in the bath for the last three months,” a pris­oner told the Sun­day Times.

“The mem­bers com­plained about his room smelling. When he goes out of his room he sprays per­fume.

“There is noth­ing wrong with him but he makes him­self sick . . . Ra­jiv is plan­ning to go on med­i­cal pa­role,” the pris­oner said.

The Naran­das fam­ily wealth is said to be fund­ing con­stant med­i­cal care, in­clud­ing vis­its by a pri­vate doc­tor ev­ery week.

“As for brush­ing his teeth, he never brushes for al­most a year,” said the pris­oner. “He read some­where that if you don’t brush it can af­fect your heart.”

Af­ter los­ing his Con­sti­tu­tional Court bid last year, Naran­das dis­ap­peared for nearly a week in­stead of hand­ing him­self over to prison au­thor­i­ties. He resur­faced in a Dur­ban hos­pi­tal af­ter al­legedly falling ill.

A Westville Prison cor­rec­tional of­fi­cer, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said Naran­das had it easy be­hind bars, spend­ing his days in the prison’s med­i­cal wing.

He had come to blows with a cell­mate over his body odour. “He was as­saulted by an­other in­mate but he wasn’t badly hurt and is fit enough to come [back] to prison.

“He is get­ting spe­cial treat­ment in the hos­pi­tal sec­tion, where life is easy. Naran­das is not re­ally sick. It is easy in the hos­pi­tal. There are sin­gle cells and one is out of the way of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. The com­mu­nal cells of Medium B are not for the faint­hearted,” said the warder.

The for­mer so­cial but­ter­fly had meals de­liv­ered to the jail, he said. “He hardly eats the prison food . . . only those that warders bring him and they are tak­ing care of him nicely.”

His ac­tions were lay­ing the foun­da­tions, the warder said, for Naran­das to ap­ply for med­i­cal pa­role. “He is try­ing to pull the same trick as Sch­abir Shaik.”

How­ever, cor­rec­tional ser­vices spokesman Thu­lani Md­luli de­nied Naran­das was get­ting spe­cial treat­ment, and said the fight with an­other in­mate was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

Last month Naran­das filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion in the High Court in Dur­ban to gain ac­cess to an an­tibi­otic and throat lozenges. His ad­vo­cate, Lee Reddy, said her client was un­well and was be­ing treated in the hos­pi­tal wing. His sore throat was com­pounded by other ail­ments and a med­i­cal re­port on his con­di­tion was still out­stand­ing.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was set aside af­ter lawyers for cor­rec­tional ser­vices said it was not a “life or death” sit­u­a­tion.

Re­peated at­tempts to con­tact Ra­jiv’s mother, Rosanne, were un­suc­cess­ful.

Pic­ture: Jackie Clausen

Ra­jiv Naran­das and his blinged-up ‘wrapped’ Audi R8.

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