Murder accused was with victim when money was withdrawn

By Edward Gay

Shalvin Prasad.  Photo / Supplied
Shalvin Prasad. Photo / Supplied

One of those alleged to have set Shalvin Prasad on fire was with him on the day when he withdrew $30,000 from his bank account, according to police.

Bryne Permal and Shivneel Kumar are charged with the murder of Shalvin Prasad who was found burnt to death in a rural area of south Auckland.

They appeared by audio-visual link at the Manukau District Court today where details of the police case against the pair were released.

According to the police summary of facts, alarm bells rang with Mr Prasad's family when his father checked his son's bank account and found $30,000 missing on January 30.

He was so concerned he called police.

The next day, police found Mr Prasad's smouldering and badly burnt body on a rural road in south Auckland.

Police were able to identify the body only after analysing the fingerprints from Mr Prasad's body.

Detectives allege Kumar owed Mr Prasad money and the pair had been contacting each other by text messages in the days leading up to the murder.

The pair met at the Papatoetoe TAB and later CCTV footage captured Mr Prasad arriving at the ASB branch on Ronwood Ave in Manukau where he withdrew $30,000 in $100 notes. According to police, Kumar can be seen following Mr Prasad in his own car but waited outside.

While inside the bank, Mr Prasad kept Kumar in the loop about what was happening and sent a text message saying: "she getting momey nw.''

Mr Prasad left the bank with his cash in an envelope and stopped to speak to Kumar on his way out. They then both left the carpark in their own cars.

Later that day Kumar and Mr Prasad were back talking and texting each other on their mobile phones.

They arranged another meeting after Mr Prasad's soccer practice and after Permal finished work at Frucor.

Mr Prasad met Permal at the Frucor factory and the pair got into Permal's car.

What happened next is unclear but police say about an hour later Permal and Kumar went to the Mobil Station on Great South Rd in Papakura and Permal filled two cans of petrol. The $33 bill was paid with a $100 note.

Police allege the pair then drove to McRobbie Rd in Kingseat and set Mr Prasad alight. He burnt to death.

Police later found that Mr Prasad's cellphone had been wiped and say Kumar sold the phone to another man at a petrol station before filling his car with petrol and paying with a $100 bill.

According to police, Kumar spent $3800 in the following days. He also made two large bank deposits - one of $14,000 into a joint account with his father, and a second of $4100 into his personal account.

Part of the police case against the pair remains suppressed.

Permal and Kumar were remanded in custody and are due to appear in the High Court at Auckland next month.

Police have previously said tens of thousands of dollars withdrawn by Mr Prasad shortly before he was set on fire have been spent.

Outside court in February, Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said police were unlikely to be able to recover the money.

"But we believe we can account for the majority of it ... We are not looking for a pile of cash.''

Mr Lynch would not say what the money was spent on.

- APNZ

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