Young man burned to death 'innocent'

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013
Shalvin Prasad
HOMICIDE VICTIM: Shalvin Prasad.
Shalvin Prassad
NZ Police
ON CAMERA: Shalvin Prasad withdrawing money at the ASB Bank at Ronwood Ave, Manukau.

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Blackmail and fraud are being considered as motives in the killing of a young man found burned to death just hours after he withdrew tens of thousands of dollars from his bank account.

Police say Shalvin Prasad, 21, had saved the money over a long period and it was possible that someone who knew about it had taken advantage of him.

Detectives are now seeking any information which may lead them to the missing money, or the offenders.

Prasad's scorched body was discovered following a small scrub fire on the side of McRobbie Rd in Kingseat, Auckland on Thursday last week. He was burned alive and had no other injuries.

Detective Inspector Dave Lynch said yesterday that Prasad had withdrawn a large sum of money from a bank in Manukau on Wednesday prior to going missing.

He withdrew the money in $100 bills over the counter from a teller at the ASB in Ronwood Ave, and did not seem in fear as he made the transaction, Lynch said.

Prasad's family noticed the money was missing on Wednesday night, when they used his online banking password to check his account after the supermarket worker left his Dannemora home, apparently to play pool, and never returned.

"People may well speculate as to how a 21-year-old came to have a large sum of money but at this stage of the investigation police emphasise there is no indication Shalvin was involved in illegal activity," Lynch said

"We are seeking assistance from anyone that knows or was associated with Shalvin who have heard any talk that he had withdrawn this money and what he proposed to do with it."

Lynch said police were trying to establish it Prasad was the victim of a fraud, or had been blackmailed, or if something else was going on.

"He has been described by family as innocent and naive... There certainly is the potential for someone to have taken advantage."

Yesterday was the first chance police have had to interview Prasad's family. His wallet, keys and cell phone were still missing, although his Rav4 had been discovered at an industrial premises in the Plunkett Ave area of Papatoetoe, about 10km from where his body was found.

The vehicle was secured and will be subject to an extensive forensic examination, while police check CCTV footage in the hope of establishing when the car was left at the address.

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There was no connection between Prasad and either of the two areas, where his car was found, or where his body was found, Lynch said.

Police are also still seeking sightings of two cars seen speeding away from McRobbie road around 6.30am the morning Prasad's body was found. It is unknown if the vehicles are relevant to the investigation.

- Auckland Now

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