Monday, December 11, 2006

The Indian husband of a British charity worker is expected to be charged with the murder of her colleague Michael Blakey

This is London:

Pawan Bhardwaj, 28, was arrested yesterday.

Police say he was angry at the relationship between his wife, Rachel Owen, 35, and Mr Blakey. The victim's battered body was dumped two weeks ago in a stream in the remote northern Indian town where they all worked.

Police said they were also investigating whether Bhardwaj was embezzling funds from the Tong Len charity. A spokesman said it was possible 23-year-old Mr Blakey had confronted Bhardwaj over possible fraud.

Bhardwaj's arrest came only a few hours after he had protested his innocence to me over a meal at a curry house. He and his Glaswegian wife gazed adoringly at one another as I talked to them about the murder that has shocked the New Age hippy mecca of Dharamsala, high in the Himalayas.

For 13 days, ever since the body of Mr Blakey was found here, weighed down with boulders in a shallow stream running through a graveyard for British soldiers of the Raj, Bhardwaj had been the prime suspect. He had been questioned time and again by detectives who believe he was motivated by ill-founded jealousy of Michael's friendship with his wife.

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