In recent years, nanavati case got limelight when akshay kumar performed the role of nanavati in his movie ‘Rustom’. The movie has proven a big hit on box office and people started to talk about the nanavati case. Later on, a series on this case was also streamed on ALT Balaji and ZEE, in which Manav Kaul performed the role of Nanavati. The series had much to show than the movie and it was near to the actual story in comparison to the story of movie.

But still, movies are not able to show the actual story, reason being obvious that they have also keep in mind the production value and profit from the movie.

The actual story obviously was those facts which were stated in the Trials and then in the appeal to High Courts and Supreme Courts.

So we are quoting those facts from the actual case of K.M.Nanavati.

The real story of nanavati case

K.M.Nanavati, at the time of the alleged murder, was second in command of the Indian Naval Ship “Mysore”. He married Sylvia in 1949 in the registry office at Portsmouth, England. They have three children by the marriage, a boy aged 9 1/2 years a girl aged 5 1/2 years and another boy aged 3 years. Since the time of marriage, the couple were living at different places having regard to the exigencies of service of Nanavati.

Finally, they shifted to Bombay. In the same city the Ahuja Ahuja was doing business in automobiles and was residing, along with his sister, in a building called “Shreyas” till 1957 and thereafter in another building called “Jivan Jyot” in Setalvad Road.

In the year 1956, Agniks, who were common friends of Nanavatis and Ahujas, introduced Ahuja and his sister to Nanavatis. Ahuja was unmarried and was about 34 years of age at the time of his death, Nanavati, as a Naval Officer, was frequently going away from Bombay in his ship, leaving his wife and children in Bombay.

Gradually, friendship developed between Ahuja and Sylvia, which culminated in illicit intimacy between them.

Nanavati was away with his ship from April 6, 1959, to April 18, 1959. Immediately after returning to Bombay, he and his wife went to Ahmednagar for about three days in the company of his younger brother and his wife. Thereafter, they returned to Bombay and after a few days his brother and his wife left them.

After they had left, the Nanavati noticed that his wife was behaving strangely and was not responsive or affectionate to him. When questioned, she used to evade the issue. At noon on April 27, 1959, when they were sitting in the sitting-room for the lunch to be served, the Nanavati put his arm round his wife affectionately, when she seemed to go tense and unresponsive. After lunch, when he questioned her about her fidelity, she shook her head to indicate that she was unfaithful to him. He guessed that her paramour was Ahuja. As she did not even indicate clearly whether Ahuja would marry her and look after the children, he decided to settle the matter with him. Sylvia pleaded with him not go to Ahuja’s house, as he might shoot him.

Thereafter, he drove his wife, two of his children and a neighbour’s child in his car to a cinema, dropped them there and promised to come and pick them up at 6 P.M. when the show ended. He then drove his car to his ship, as he wanted to get medicine for his sick dog, he represented to the authorities in the ship, that he wanted to draw a revolver and six rounds from the stores of the ship as he was going to drive alone to Ahmednagar by night, though the real purpose was to shoot himself.

On receiving the revolver and six cartridges, and put it inside a brown envelope. Then he drove his car to Ahuja’s office, and not finding him there, he drove to Ahuja’s flat, rang the doorbell, and, when it was opened by a servant, walked to Ahuja’s bed-room, went into the bed-room and shut the door behind him. He also carried with him the envelope containing the revolver.

Nanavati saw Ahuja inside the bed-room, called him a filthy swine and asked him whether he would marry Sylvia and look after the children. Ahuja retorted, “Am I to marry every woman I sleep with?” The Nanavati became enraged, put the envelope containing the revolver on a cabinet nearby, and threatened to thrash the Ahuja. The Ahuja made a sudden move to grasp at the envelope, when the Nanavati whipped out his revolver and told him to get back. A struggle ensued between the two and during that struggle two shots went off accidentally and hit Ahuja resulting in his death. After the shooting the Nanavati went back to his car and drove it to the police station where he surrendered himself.

However, prosecution case was slightly different on the event of murder or so-called scuffle.

On April 27, 1959, Sylvia confessed to Nanavati of her illicit intimacy with Ahuja. Enraged at the conduct of Ahuja, Nanavati went to his ship, took from the stores of the ship a semi- automatic revolver and six cartridges on a false pretext, loaded the same, went to the flat of Ahuja entered his bed-room and shot him dead. Thereafter, the Nanavati surrendered himself to the police. He was put under arrest and in due course he was committed to the Sessions for facing a charge under s. 302 of the Indian Penal Code.


K.M.Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra (1961)