The Nanavati Murder

Naval Officer Kills Wife's Lover

When Indian Naval Cmdr. Kawas Nanavati returned to Bombay from a recent deployment, he found something had changed with his wife, Sylvia Nanavati. The mother of his three children had grown distant over the time he’d been away. When he asked her why, Sylvia told Kawas she’d been having an affair with a man named Prem Ahuja.

On April 27, 1959, Kawas took his family to see a film at the Metro Cinema but left before it started. He drove to his naval base where he got his gun and six rounds of ammunition. Kawas then drove to Ahuja’s office, but he was not there. His next stop was Ahuja’s apartment, where Kawas found him emerging from a bath, clad only in a white towel. Kawas confronted Ahuja and the two began to argue. Eventually three shots were fired from Kawas’ gun, killing Ahuja. Kawas left the scene and turned himself in to the Provost Marshal of the Western Naval Command and later to the local police.

Kawas was acquitted in his first trial. He was tried again and convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He spent approximately three years in prison before being paroled for health concerns. He was pardoned in 1964 and he, Sylvia, and their children moved to Canada in 1968.