Phoenix Wife Killer Continues to Evade Jaws of Justice

By Paul Rubin

We get asked every so often whatever happened to the Snake on the Plane?

You may remember the story: Avtar Grewal, a native of India in his early 30s, flew to Phoenix from British Columbia in March 2007, and went to the home of his estranged wife, 30-year-old Navneet Kaur, a project manager for a Scottsdale firm.

Phoenix police on a welfare call the following morning found the battered body of Ms. Kaur face-down in her bathtub, near the intersection of 40th Street and Pecos.

On a couch in the family room was a note written and signed by Mr. Grewal: "I killed this selfish bitch who tortured me for two years. Made my life hell. Now I will kill myself."

Except he didn't. He just killed her.

Grewal split to Sky Harbor International Airport, where he took a one-way flight back East on the first leg of a trip back to New Delhi, where his family is said to be prominent.

That led to the central narrative of the story--the ultimately failed attempt by a Phoenix police sergeant to get the Continental Airlines flight to India to turn around and land back in the New York City area, where the homicidal and suicidal suspect could be arrested.

Grewal was taken into custody after his plane landed in New Delhi.

Now, more than 18 months after all this happened, Grewal seems no closer to being extradited to face murder charges back here in Maricopa County than he was after he stepped off Continental Flight 82.

A piece in the Indian Express newspaper last week quoted from documents filed by Grewal's attorney saying that a written confession to the murder had been "obtained forcibly," not by the Phoenix or Indian police, mind you, but by the victim's father, a retired cop.

The defense also claimed that Grewal was on cordial terms with his wife and had no motive to kill her. Trust us, that one is more than a stretch. It's a lie.

According to the story, Maricopa County officials sent an extradition request to the Indian government through the U.S. State Department, and hearings on the matter are pending.

"Pending" in this instance surely doesn't mean soon, or anytime soon.

The circumstances and locale of Grewal's current living arrangements are uncertain.

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin