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I was drugged says doctor accused of murder plot.

A Midland GP accused of hiring a hitman to murder his former mistress told a court he could not remember asking two undercover journalists to "get rid of" his lover.

Dr Manohar Rangwani told Birmingham Crown Court he may have been drugged before being covertly filmed as he asked the "supposed assassins" to make Dr Kumundini Khare "disappear for good".

The Chelmsley Wood GP said he must have been given a drug as he could not recall any discussion at a city hotel about killing Dr Khare.

Rangwani (63) of Blythewood Close, Knowle, is charged with soliciting a newspaper's investigations editor, Mr Mazher Mahmood, to murder his former lover in January 1998.

The prosecution claims he plotted to kill her just months after losing a paternity suit, which proved he was the father of three of her sons.

The former police surgeon denies asking friend and freelance journalist Mr Paul Samrai to "find someone" to kill Dr Khare, who was then aged 46.

He told the jury he had never suggested to anyone that harm should come to Dr Khare.

Rangwani said Mr Samrai, who had contacted Mr Mahmood to profit from the story, had organised a meeting at Birmingham's Hyatt Hotel with a group called the Asian Council which would "amicably" iron out any problems between him and Dr Khare.

Rangwani said he had no recollection of the meeting with the undercover reporters at the hotel on January 23, 1998, at which he was filmed discussing details of the alleged plot.

He said: "I really do not have any recollection of going into the hotel room upstairs.

"I remember being offered another drink in the bar downstairs and I said I didn't want it but someone poured it anyway.

"I think I must have taken something that blocked my memory. I can only come to the conclusion that I was given some drugs."

Rangwani was also questioned by defence counsel, Mr Richard Wakerley QC, about why he had provided powerful sedative drugs to the "hit team". Rangwani said he believed the drugs were for a female relative.

The Crown alleges that Rangwani supplied drugs and needles to the undercover reporters and agreed to pay them pounds 5,000 for the killing.

Rangwani, who claims he was the victim of a conspiracy between his former lover, Mr Samrai and the newspaper reporters, added: "I am getting old, but I have an excellent memory.

"I remember meeting two men in the public bar of the hotel but the next thing I remember was waking up at home the next day.

"The first time I heard of the conversations in the hotel bedroom was when I saw the video evidence."

The court has heard that Rangwani, who also provided the "hitman" with a photograph of the intended victim, started his affair with Dr Khare in the early 1980s while her husband was in the United States.

The two doctors then entered a partnership to run the Grosvenor Lodge nursing home in Brownhills, which was closed by social services in 1995 amid financial difficulties.

The trial continues today.
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Author:Warburton, Richard
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 15, 2000
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