Desperate filmmaker accused of murder

Was model killed when kidnap plan went wrong?

by Jennie Kermode

An Indian filmmaker was arrested today and charged with the murder of a model who was starring in his work. Shanti Deep Verma, 31, was caught in a police trap in Delhi after apparently spending a week on the run.

His alleged victim, Sumit Tiwari, was a 20-year-old model who aspired to an acting career. After seeing Verma's advert on Facebook, he got in touch and went to the director's house to appear in several test scenes. There, police claim, he agreed to be bound and gagged for a scene, and once he was immobilised he was told that he was actually the victim of a kidnap and his family would be required to pay a ransom of around £2,500 for his release. It is claimed that he was killed because he struggled loudly and Verma feared that his neighbours would be alerted. The body was hidden in a suitcase.

Although he had written four scripts, Verma, a graduate of the Film and Televison Institute of India in Pune, had not succeeded in selling any and had chosen to try and produce his own work. The Delhi police argue that spiralling production costs motivated him to murder.

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