April 26, 2019
Extramarital affair, marital discord, illegitimate child, the other woman, long fought paternity suit in courts involving a political bigwig, marriage at the age of 88, property dispute and finally a murder – this isn’t the plot of any new Bollywood blockbuster. These are the real life incidents involving the family of politician late N D Tiwari whose son Rohit Shekar Tiwari, 40, was killed by his wife Apoorva Tiwari on April 16, 2019. Apoorva has confessed that she murdered her husband after an altercation and has been arrested by the police. Married for just a year it is said that turbulent and unhappy marriage let to the murder of Rohit Tiwari. Rohit was found unconscious at his home in South Delhi and was later declared dead.
Autopsy report revealed he was smothered to death after the couple had a fight and got into altercation over Rohit sharing a glass of alcohol with another woman, said to be his relative. It all started with a video call by Apoorva to her husband on April 15, when Rohit was returning to Delhi from Uttarkhand where he had gone to vote for the Lok Sabha elections. During the video call she saw Rohit sharing the rear seat of the car with his sister-in-law who was also drinking alcohol from a shared glass.
Apoorva hated her sister-in-law as she felt she was the cause of her impending divorce. Later she confronted her husband about the other woman Rohit enraged her saying he and the other woman were drinking from the same glass. Police investigators say that in a fit of anger Apoorva killed her husband by strangulating and smothering and Rohit who was heavily drunk could not resist her. His bypass surgery a year ago had also rendered him physically weak to put up any fight. Having killed her husband which was not a premeditated one, Apoorva tried to destroy the pieces of evidence. She was questioned by the police and discrepancies in her statement led to the police to suspect and finally she confessed to having killed her husband.
Apoorva who hails from Indore, is a practicing Supreme Court lawyer and the couple met in 2017 through a matrimonial website. After seeing each other for a year or so they distanced from each other for about three months and Tiwari had said she does not want to marry her. But they again became closer and decided to marry. But the marriage was strained from the beginning as the couple frequently quarreled. The discord was so bad the couple began to live separately in the same house. The couple had decided to opt for a mutual divorce which was to come through in June this year. Rohit’s mother Ujwala Sharma has insinuated that property dispute also could be reason for the murder and she alleged that Apoorva’s family was money-minded and wanted to get hold of the family property.
Whatever might be the reason, it is indeed a tragic end of Rohit Tiwari who grabbed national headlines a few years ago when he singlehandedly fought a 7 year long court battle in court against his politically powerful father who refused to acknowledge Rohit was his son and finally won. He had a turbulent childhood and went through a harrowing experience in school where he had to face embarrassing questions from his schoolmates about his father whom he used to call as “uncle” as he was oblivious of his relationship with N D Tiwari.
His mother Ujwala Sharma, was married to Bimal Sharma in the early 60’s when she was just 17. Sharma was her father Sher Singh’s assistant who later went on to become junior Defence Minister. She had a son from her marriage to Sharma but her marriage was a failure. Soon she came in contact with N D Tiwari who was the Youth Congress chief then.
A former Sanskrit Reader of Daulatram College, Delhi, Ujwala had said that she was in a relationship with Tiwari since the 70’s. Since Tiwari was issueless, Ujwala says he goaded her to have a child so that he has the satisfaction of fathering a child and promised to marry her and adopt her as his wife. She said Tiwari promised to marry her after divorcing his wife and even advised her to get a divorce. He failed to fulfill his promise and in 1994 he severed all ties with Ujwala and her son and Rohit realized the bitter truth that he was not willing to adopt him as his son. He had refused to publicly acknowledge his association with Ujwala and had vehemently denied he was Rohit’s father.
In 2007, when he was 27, Rohit who had gone to greet his father on his birthday realized his true status when he was hushed into a room to avoid public glare. Tiwari’s pusillanimity pained and infuriated Rohit who is a lawyer by profession and decided to fight it out and in 2007 he filed a case in his bid to prove his paternity and provide justice to his mother and to himself. The incident caused quite a sensation because it was a rarest of rare cases where a woman came out publicly about her affair and the out-of-wedlock child she had. It required lot of courage and conviction and Ujwala displayed both these qualities in ample measure when she decided to go public with her affair.
It took Rohit 7 long years to battle it out in the court to prove that he is indeed the son of N D Tiwari. Based on Rohit’s claims and documentary proof, the court had directed Tiwari to undergo a DNA test, which he had managed to evade for years. Rohit and his mother Ujwala had submitted their blood samples for DNA test in 2012. However, Tiwari failed to provide his blood sample contesting all previous court ruling. Finally he gave his blood samples for DNA test following Supreme Court’s order. He had earlier challenged the paternity suit by invoking the presumption of legitimacy of a child born out of wedlock saying that Ujwala was living with her husband Bimal Sharma when Rohit was conceived as she was not divorced then. The DNA test results released by the court established that N D Tiwari was the biological father of Rohit. In 2014 he publicly accepted Rohit as his son and signaled the end of the court battle. . In 2018 Tiwari died at the age of 93 and even in his death he made news as he died on his birthday.
As a man who fought his battle with a dogged persistence that drained him both physically and emotionally, Rohit was a trendsetter and winner. He had won the battle to prove his legitimacy by the sheer strength of his willpower and inexorable energy. Rohit’s untimely death comes as a rude shock and it is appropriate to say that he won the battle but lost the war. However, he will remain in public memory as he has set a precedent which might prove beneficial for all those facing paternity issues.