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Dr. Asha Goel
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By MANDI HARGRAVE Staff Reporter
More than 2 1/2 years after the discovery of her brutally beaten body in a brother's home in India, the police investigation of Dr. Asha Goel's murder is continuing and trial of the suspects is still a year away.
The now-deceased brother, Suresh Agrawal, is believed to have conspired with three other men, whom Indian police named last October. They have now named another brother who lives in Ottawa, Subhash, as being involved in a conspiracy involving who in the family should inherit properties in India said to be worth about $5 million.
Visiting Orangeville this week from his home in Vancouver, Asha's son Sanjay said that brother has taken the position of not being involved in the murder, that he has been unfairly accused, and he is the victim of a personal vilification effort by Sanjay.
Sanjay says he has never accused his uncle, but rather that it was the Indian police who came to the conclusion that he was involved.
However, Sanjay also says that if his uncle is innocent he should cooperate with the police and travel to India to participate in interviews and questioning.
Sanjay said police were told who was involved in the crime and how it happened by one suspect, Pradeep Parab, who confessed in front of a magistrate.
The other men named in the case are Narendra Goel, Suresh's son-in-law, Manohar Shinde, manager of one Suresh's properties, and Pawankumar Goenka, Subhash's key property manager in India.
Mr. Parab was the night manager of a property owned by Suresh, who was ill at the time of the murder and died two months later.
Sanjay went on to explain that when someone makes a confession in front a magistrate in India, no police are there so that the suspect does not feel pressure or fear to confess as it would only be the suspect, magistrate and a court stenographer in the room.
Sanjay said Mr. Parab had undergone lie-detector tests, brain mapping and, most importantly sodium pentothal ("truth serum") interrogations.
At the time of her death, Asha was chief of obstetrics and gynaecology at Headwaters Health Care Centre and her husband was, and still is, a surgeon at the Orangeville hospital. He described the drug given Mr. Parab as one that frees people from their inhibitions, which allows the truth to come out.
While under the drug, Mr. Parab described his involvement in the crime, as well as who else was involved and how it occurred.
Sanjay said he doesn't think people fully understand the horrible brutality of the crime against his mother.
He said there were 21 points of injury to her body by a vegetable peeler, a vegetable pairing knife, a pillow and a piece of a granite baseboard used in her murder.
Sanjay stated the forensic examiner said it would have taken between 10 and 15 minutes for Asha to die from the variety of injuries. The injuries included being blinded, a broken jaw, a massive head injury, a ruptured liver and numerous stab wounds.
"She fought valiantly, she struggled with all her might against three men, Parab, Shinde and Goenka," Sanjay said the magistrate was told.
"No one should ever have to die that way. We see plenty of images of people who have lost their lives on television, but they mostly have a function of a single gunshot wound, not through torture and that's what happened here to my mom."
He described his mother as "a woman of healing, who brought life into the world and whose life was taken in the worst possible way."
He said people "have said to me from time to time, 'your mother died' or
you lost your mother,' things of that nature. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
"My mother was stolen, she was taken, brutality, from her family, her community, the patients and so many thousands of people who cared for her and whose lives she touched," Sanjay said.
He continued, "It's not just a death, it's not just a murder. It's a level of savagery and inhumanity that incenses us each day, still to this day."
Sanjay said the case has three elements. The first includes people who conspired and planned the murder, the second includes people who carried out the murder and the third is people who have actively tried to cover up the crime and prevent justice from occurring.
"Thus far, the people who have been arrested are solely in the area of executing the crime. We have not yet arrested or possibly fully found out all those people who were involved in hatching the conspiracy and crime and certainly we haven't found or fully identified all of the people who were involved in covering up the crime, including the mismanagement, mishandling or destruction of evidence," he said.
Sanjay said there are people who know of the crime and are associated with it who still need to be examined and punished.
"Really the issue is, now that we know - and the police seem extremely certain through their methods they've made it quite clear - that these individuals are involved. The issue is whether they're convicted and for how long and what the appropriate punishment is. In a way, nothing would be worse than knowing who these people are and then them not facing the full wrath of justice."
The Goel family cannot understand why the case of the Ianieros, the husband and wife murdered in Mexico, has received more attention and co-operation from the Canadian government than Asha's case.
"This is a Canadian problem, not an Indian problem," said Sanjay, whose parents were in Canada for many more years than in India.
With the Indian police naming a Canadian in the case, Sanjay said, one would expect the Canadian government would take an active role. Anything less than that would mean criminals could wait for Canadians to go on holidays and commit the crime in a foreign location.
"I don't think any Canadian would be comfortable if they heard that," he said.
Sanjay said he, his sisters Rashmi and Seema, as well as his father, have not had the chance since his mother's murder to sit in a room alone and talk about her. They also haven't had the opportunity to properly grieve, as they've been trying to solve the case ever since it happened.
Sadan Goel said he finds it very difficult to believe that his wife's brothers were involved because in his culture he has never heard of something like this happening.
He said it's difficult to cope with his loss but they have to fight to bring the people who committed the crime to justice.