Autopsies cancelled again; murder victim's family frustrated

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 09:30

The autopsy of Naresh "Venesh" Basant, 40, of Charlieville was yet again put off for the second day on Tuesday as a continued strike by workers at the Forensic Sciences Centre in St James continued on its third day for the week.

Forensic workers, who wished not to be identified said they are disgruntled over the non-payment of their salaries.

But this alleged strike action did not go well for Basant's family as they expressed much frustration.

"We already stressed over Venesh's innocent murder now we cannot even get the autopsy done so that we can give him his final rites in a timely fashion, " the relative said.

Basant was lured to his death under the pretence that someone needed him to do a job estimate for a roof at Korea Village in Carapichaima on Monday.

More than a week ago, Basant began to get calls on his cellphone. The female voice kept asking him if he can do a roofing job for her.

But when Basant did manage to find the time and go to the site at Jagbir Street he was instead gunned down. He was shot 12 times about the body believed to be by a high-powered rifle shortly after 6 pm on Monday.

According to a police report, several gunshots were heard and Basant's body was found lying on the roadway next to his Honda Civic motorcar.

He was a professional and certified welder and the father of a 12-year-old boy.

Guardian Media was told that residents observed a white Tiida "circling" the area before Basant's arrival.

However, when Basant arrived he was told that no one called about a roofing job.

One relative, who wished not to be identified, related what he was told by eyewitnesses, "He came out of his car with his job book in his hand and like when he was told that no one there had a job for him he walked back to his car and rest his book on it. The white Tiida then stopped and like when he saw the gun pointed at him he thought it was a robbery. So he took out the chain from around his neck and held it in his hands but they just shoot him up and drove off taking nothing. Police got the chain still clenched in his hand and they also retrieved his wallet which had just over $200."

"So clearly he was set up...but why? Venesh was never in nothing. He was never into drugs, guns or gangs. He worked really hard to build his house for years and to see about his only child, his son, who was everything to him, " the relative said.

Basant's wife, Shalima Basant said she last saw her husband at about 1.30 pm that same day (Monday), "We had lunch home and I left home about 1.30 pm and that was the last time I saw him. All I know was that he went to check a job in Korea Village."

Shalima said they had dinner plans and tried calling him the evening but got no answer, "I found it strange because whatever happens between us he would always take my call. Is after a while a neighbour saw it on Facebook that there was a murder in Korea Village and I know he went there so that's how we found out."

An investigating police source said that whilst they have no motive they believe that Basant may have been lured to his death by someone close to him, "Someone who knew or was privy to his personal business like what jobs he had and where and where other potential jobs were. So the mastermind knew these fine details and were able to put him in place as they would say."

The police source also disclosed that they received information that Basant had an estranged relationship at one time with a close female relative who had "ties" in Korea Village some years ago. Investigators are not ruling out the possibility that the "hit" was called on Basant based on the latest information received.

Another police source confirmed that Basant's murder had nothing to do with the murder of Sheron Sukhdeo neither his brother-in-law Phillip Basant. 

Phillip's sister, Sheron's widow, Rachel Sukhdeo also took to social media to clear up issues including the fact that Basant is not her cousin. Sukhdeo wrote: "I will like to express my condolences to the family of Naresh Basant on their loss. I understand what you are going through at this time. 

I will like to however express my disgust at the media for printing erroneous links, for the millionth time, before confirming the truthfulness of the information. The deceased is not my cousin."
Basant's relatives said they are still in shock and "very confused."

Basant was known as a very hard worker and who dearly loved his one and only son and made it his duty to see that his son was happy and well taken care of.

"Venesh was his home name and everyone called him by that...he was a very quiet guy but when with his family he loved to give jokes and smile at everything. He was no limer but frequented a bar near his home on weekends where he would only lime with family and close friends, " a relative said.

"We are left now with a deep void and many unanswered questions. We are in disbelief but whoever did this I want them to know that they took away a good father away from an only child...they took away a good man who worked hard and honest for his living. God will give us justice, " the relative added.

The autopsy is expected to be carried out on Thursday.

When contacted Minister of National Security said he made enquiries and have not been told of any issues, “I have made an enquiry into this via the Permanent Secretary. I was not informed of any issue and certainly not told about any action being taken by workers at the Forensic Science Centre.”

- Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant