29-year-old commercial driver, Leon Apping, has been charged with the murder of Anand Maharaj. (Image: TTPS)

As relatives say their final farewell today, to slain Gasparillo businessman, Anand Maharaj, a 29-year-old commercial driver will be appearing before the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court charged with his murder. 

Leon Apping, of Rawlins Ave, San Fabien Road, Gasparillo, was charged by Cpl Bynoe on Thursday 22nd April, on the advice of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Joan Honore-Paul.

The accused was arrested and charged following a police investigation into the death of 60-year-old businessman Anand Maharaj.

Guardian Media understands that Maharaj, the owner of Triple A Auto Supplies, inclusive of a car rental company, left his home and business place at Jeffers Lane, Charles Street around 1 pm on April 17th, to deliver a silver grey Nissan Note to Apping’s home. Police said Maharaj also had a quantity of money on him to purchase US currency.

When Maharaj did not return home and calls to his cell phone went unanswered, his wife made a report to the police around 7 pm.

She told police that her husband had left home with the intention of delivering the vehicle to a client, whom she said was planning to rent the vehicle.  She also said her husband had arranged to purchase US dollars from the client.

Officers conducting enquiries were able to track the GPS on the vehicle and also traced the businessman’s cell phone number to a location at San Fabien Road, Gasparillo.  

When police officers went to Apping’s apartment, they saw the rental vehicle parked in the yard.  They took Apping down to the station for questioning.  They later returned to the apartment at about 10:30 pm, searched the premises, and allegedly found Maharaj’s body wrapped in clear plastic and duct tape, inside the storage compartment of a couch in the living room.

An autopsy revealed that Anand Maharaj died from asphyxia due to blocking of his airways.

Apping is expected to make a virtual appearance before a San Fernando magistrate later today.

Meanwhile, Maharaj’s funeral service will be held today.