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Khanduja: at centre of storm after Nafisa's death

By Marcellus D'Souza, IANS

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Those who know Gautam Khanduja -- Nafisa Joseph's fiancÚ who is said to be missing after the former Miss India killed herself -- describe him as "good looking, sensitive and nice".

Model-turned-choreographer Marc Robinson, who has met Khanduja, said: "He came across as a soft spoken, well-mannered and decent person. He is extremely well-off and generally keeps to himself."

Deepika Govind, a fashion designer, said: "Nafisa was glad to have found someone who wasn't associated with the field of modelling and the
shallowness it stood for.

"After three high-profile and bad relationships (reportedly with Sameer Malhotra, Sameer Soni and Rahul Bose), Nafisa was finally happy with Gautam."

Khanduja and Joseph were to get married in August, but she hanged herself from a ceiling fan at her Versova home in Mumbai Thursday. There were reportedly differences between the two about Khanduja's divorce from his first wife.

Govind said: "When Nafisa first told me about Gautam she said, 'He's so refreshing, confident, strong and intelligent'. In fact, she never partied with other models but preferred to spend time at home with friends and her pets.

"I was given to believe that Gautam was a passionate windsurfer and came from a very moneyed family.

"After dating for 15 months, Gautam and Nafisa were planning to tie the knot. But her parents were apparently wary of giving their consent to the marriage before seeing his divorce papers.

"I'm given to believe this was the very issue that got Nafisa into a heated argument with her mother Thursday night. I'm also told, but cannot confirm, that Gautam kept postponing the marriage time and again and that upset Nafisa.

"I'm not sure if his ex-wife was causing problems in their relationship," Govind said.

Mustafa Alsiwala, a builder who regularly worked out with Khanduja at Otters Club in Bandra, said: "Gautam owns an automobile factory in Spain and spends most of his time shuttling between the US, Spain and India.

"He is a water sports buff and a windsurfer. He is good looking, sensitive, and a nice person. A private person who won't put anyone down to make himself look good.

"He studied in the US. His (first) wife was an air-hostess."

Gautam lives in Land Breeze Apartment in Pali Hill in Bandra.

"He lives alone," said watchman Balkrishna Salunkhe. "He usually came home late."


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