The Tragic Story Behind Bollywood Actress Meenakshi Thapar's Kidnapping And Death

Actress Meenakshi Thapar starred in just three movies in her life: "404: Error Not Found," "Pakauu," and "Heroine" (per IMDb). According to Time, the up-and-coming Bollywood star was tragically kidnapped and murdered at age 26. And Thapar wasn't kidnapped by a random stranger, but rather by two people she already knew from her work in the movie industry.

The two kidnappers were apparently having a challenging year (via The Telegraph). Amit Jaiswal's wife had recently found out that he was cheating on her, and had kicked him out of their house. Jaiswal and his new girlfriend, actress Preeti Surin, had moved to Mumbai, seeking acting work in Bollywood movies.

Their plan formed when Surin and Jaiswal were cast in the new movie "Heroine," alongside 26-year-old Meenakshi Thapar. Thapar's co-stars overheard her bragging about how rich her family was. Surin and Jaiswal hatched a scheme to gain some of that cash.

Kidnapping gone wrong

Jaiswal and Surin invited Thapar for a short visit to Gorakhpur, India, an area which is revered for its Buddhist temples (via The Telegraph). Mumbai Mirror reports that they told Thapar that if she came along with them, she could get an acting gig. But when the actors arrived there, they instead held Thapar hostage.

The kidnappers contacted the Thapar family on March 13, 2012. They told the family to pay 1.5 million rupees, which is about $28,000 in U.S. dollars (via Time). And if they couldn't pay up, the kidnappers warned, they would force Thapar to make a pornographic film.

But the kidnappers may have overestimated how much money the Thapar family actually had. NY Daily News reports that Thapar's mother was only able to pay a little bit. She sent 60,000 rupees, or around $1,150 in U.S. dollars. When the Thapar family couldn't pay in full, Thapar's captors decided to end the hostage situation once and for all, according to The Telegraph.

Hiding the body

The couple strangled Meenakshi Thapar, then cut her head off (via The Telegraph). To dispose of her remains, they dumped her body inside a septic tank (via Mumbai Mirror). Jaiswal and Surin concealed her head in a bag, and brought it with them as they departed. They threw it out of a moving bus as they returned from the gruesome trip. Even after they killed Thapar, they kept messaging her family for more money until April 2, 2012.

Surin and Jaiswal might have gotten away with the murder, but they forgot to ditch Thapar's cell phone SIM card and her debit card. Per Time, both of them confessed to the murder. Mumbai Mirror reports that Surin's father actually testified against her in court, saying that he saw her, Jaiswal, and Thapar together. More than 30 other witnesses also testified in the case, including members of the Thapar family. Jaiswal and Surin were sentenced to life in prison for murder and kidnapping.