Accused in Indian-origin New Zealander's murder owed money

Wellington, May 20 (IANS) One of the two men accused of burning alive an Indian-origin man in New Zealand Jan 30 this year owed the victim money, the police report on the case has revealed.

Bryan Pelmar, 20, and Shivneel Shahil Kumar, 18, have been charged with the murder of Shalvin Prasad, 21, whose burnt body was recovered from the side of a rural road in south Auckland, Fairfax NZ News reported Monday.

Prasad was killed hours after he withdrew NZ$30,000 from a bank though the significance of the money is yet to be known, the police report that was made public at a hearing in Mnukau District Court Monday was quoted as saying.

Both Kumar and Prasad had been exchanging text messages in the days leading to the incident about a debt Kumar had to repay to Prasad.

Prasad's father had got concerned after his son withdrew such a large amount of money and called the police, who then recovered the body from McRobbie Road in Kingseat in south Auckland.

According to the report, on the fateful day, after withdrawing the money from the bank and texting Kumar about it, the former got into his car and followed the latter from the car park outside.

Kumar and Prasad continued texting and talking to each other and later arranged to meet up after the victim's football practice and Pelmar's work got over.

Prasad reportedly met Pelmar at the latter's workplace and got into his car.

"The events between 9.19 p.m and 10.33 p.m are unclear," the police report said.

At 10.33 p.m, Pelmar and Kumar went to a petrol station in Great South Road, Papakura, in the former's car, and bought petrol.

They then went to the scene of the crime and set Prasad afire.

In the following days, Kumar spent NZ$3,800, deposited NZ$14,000 in a joint account he held with his father and a further NZ$4,100 into his own account.

Both the accused are scheduled to appear in the high court in Auckland in June.

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