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Anand Maharaj - Gasparillo businessman who was murdered

Almost four hours after a woman reported that her husband failed to return home after leaving to meet a client, the police discovered the man’s body wrapped in plastic at the client’s Gasparillo apartment last night.

He has been identified as Anand Maharaj, 60, owner of Tripple A Rentals in Gasparillo and vice president of the Gasparillo Business Association.

The suspect is in police custody.

According to police around 7 pm on Saturday Maharaj’s wife went to the Gasparillo Police Station and reported that her husband was missing. She told the officers that he ran a car rental business and he left their Charles Street home around 4 pm to deliver a silver Nissan Note to a client at Rawlins Avenue, San Fabien Road, Gasparillo.

However, her husband had not contacted her and calls to his cellphone went unanswered.

Maharaj also had with him more than TT $20,000 to purchase US currency from the client.

The police began their inquires.

A party of officers led by Sgt Ishmael went to the client’s apartment, interviewed the suspect and then searched the premises around 10.30 pm.

They saw a roll of grey duct tape on a folding couch.

When the officers moved the couch, Maharaj’s lifeless body was found wrapped in clear plastic and duct tape. It is believed that he was strangled.

The rental car was also at the client’s address.

Preliminary investigations point to robbery as the motive, but investigations are still ongoing. Police believe that the suspect did not act alone and was waiting for the appropriate time to dispose of Maharaj’s body.

The murder of the businessman sent shock waves through the Gasparillo community with many people expressing their sadness and outrage on social media.

Maharaj was described as a caring, generous and kind man.

One person said, “He was some of the most progressive persons I knew. After he lost his job at PCS Nitrogen he started his own business doing landscaping and odd jobs to survive and maintain a family.

“Started his used car rentals and often felt sorry for many who, otherwise would not be able to rent a car with their track record. Anand worked hard, day and night tirelessly. He had his faults like everyone else, but was always involved in giving to the less fortunate.”

PCs Mohammed, Dass, Rivers, Karim, Parbhu and WP Harewood were among the officers who responded from the Gasparillo Police Station. Also visiting the scene were ASP Ramdass, Insp Phillip and officers of the Homicide Bureau of Investigations Region 3.