Indian-American, girlfriend charged with murder-for-hire
Washington, Feb 7 : An Indian-American man and his girlfriend have been arrested for hatching a conspiracy to hire a hitman to kill the former's estranged wife.
Narsan Lingala, 55, and his 52-year-old girlfriend Sandya Reddy have been charged with one count of murder-for-hire and were produced before US Magistrate Judge Michael A Hammer in Newark federal court.
Both of them were arrested without bail.
According to a complaint filed in May 2018, Lingala was in a holding cell at the Middlesex County Superior Courthouse as he awaited a court hearing. While there, he asked another inmate if he knew anyone who could kill his estranged wife. The inmate responded in affirmative.
In June 2018, at the direction of the law enforcement body, the inmate introduced Lingala to an undercover agent posing as a hitman. Over subsequent weeks, Lingala and the undercover police officer spoke over phone and planned to meet in person when Lingala travelled from Indiana to New Jersey.
On August 18, 2018, Lingala and the undercover agent planned to meet outside a New Jersey shopping mall.
Later that day, Lingala and Reddy arrived at the mall and approached the cop.
Lingala introduced Reddy and said that she was in the know-how of what was going on. The trio then entered the undercover cop's car.
They proceeded to have a conversation that was video recorded. The police officer asked Lingala to confirm what he wanted him to do and the accused said, "I want that woman to be out of my life... totally. Never again. She never comes back."
During the conversation, the undercover cop asked, "You want me to take care of her?" to which Lingala responded, "Yeah."
The undercover cop stated, "She's done, I'm going to kill her. End of story." Lingala responded, "Yeah. End of story."
During the conversation, Lingala gave the cop information about the intended victim, including her full name, home address, age and phone number.
He also described the entrances to and layout of her home; the name of the company where she worked; and the timing and details of her work commute.
Lingala showed the undercover officer photos of the exterior and interior of his ex-wife's home. Reddy also provided the him information about the intended victim.
The trio also discussed the price and the undercover cop demanded between USD 5,000 and USD 10,000, depending on the job's complexity.
Lingala agreed and asked if he could pay after the job was done. The cop, however, said he would need a down payment.
The couple discussed the issue and then Lingala asked the cop, "Can I give you a thousand down payment?" to which the undercover cop agreed. He informed the undercover agent that making the down payment would take about two weeks.
After the meeting, authorities arrested Lingala and Reddy. The murder-for-hire charge is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine.
According to local media reports, Lingala was married in December 1995 and the couple had a son and a daughter. He filed for divorce in May 2011 and then spent several years unsuccessfully contesting the financial terms of the matrimonial settlement agreement.