The teenaged best friend of 13-year-old Chaitanya says the latter had cried before him and told him of the abuse he was suffering on several occasions; he says he can’t believe his best friend is no more and met his end with a sport he loved
Even as chilling details of monster mom Rakhi Balpande’s abuse of her partially disabled son, Chaitanya, continue to emerge, the murder and the build-up to it have left scars on the young minds of the 13-year-old’s friends in his housing society, who still can’t believe that he is no more.
Chaitanya and Rakhi Balpande and (below) the Pune housing society where they lived
Shiraj Jarekar (14), who was Chaitanya’s best friend and lived in the S B Enclave society in Tingarenagar with him, had served as a shoulder to cry on for the teenager, who confided in him and told him about the constant abuse he suffered. Shiraj, had, however, never thought that he would have to come to terms with the death of his best friend at such a young age, that too at the hands of his own mother.
The dazed Shiraj, who says he blames himself for not doing more to help his friend, told mid-day that the unkindest cut probably was that Chaitanya, who was a cricket lover and had been the captain of his school team, was beaten to death with the same bat he held so dear.
“I came to know about Chaitanya’s death from my mother. I could not believe it and I went to his house and kept banging on the door. He was the only best friend I had. He loved cricket and was very good at it and it was a cricket bat that was used to kill him. He considered his bat lucky and the same bat killed him. We used to go to the same school, but he had not been attending classes for the past three months. His mother’s behaviour was also not good as she used to insult Chaitanya and he used to cry before me and share what was happening,” said Shiraj.
“He was afraid that his mother would abandon him on a street and so he never went out with her. His mother used to tell him that if he did not do as she said, she would leave him on the streets to beg. For nearly 15 days preceding his murder, she was not letting Chaitanya leave the house at all and when we used to go to his house to ask him to play with us, she would tell us he was out. But we could see him watching us from the balcony,” he added.
“Chaitanya was a good boy and I will miss my best friend. I am sorry and I feel guilty that I could not help him much. I will pray that his soul rests in peace,” said the 14-year-old.
In shocking developments in the case, meanwhile, investigations have revealed that Rakhi had been speaking to a lawyer for nearly 15 days prior to Chaitanya’s murder, and after the deed was done, she and her boyfriend-cum-landlord Sumit More had decided that she would try and convince the police that the teenager had died of injuries sustained from a fall in the bathroom.
The backup plan was for Rakhi to tell the police that Chaitanya had made sexual advances at her and she had hit him in self defence, as no one would believe that a mother could have murdered her son. This would ensure that Sumit did not become an accused in the case and could help her get out as well.
Officials from the Vishrantwadi Police, which is probing the case, have also revealed that Rakhi was allegedly so unperturbed by Chaitanya’s death that when they reached Sassoon Hospital, where she and Sumit had taken the boy, they found her eating ice cream. Another shocking allegation has come from Chaitanya’s father and Rakhis’ estranged husband Tarun Balpande, who has said that Rakhi had abused the boy so much that he went from being 56 per cent disabled in 2010 to 76 per cent disabled this year. Before meeting Sumit, Rakhi also had two cases of adultery filed against her at the Vishrantwadi police station.
Police officials said that in order to ensure she and Sumit walked free, Rakhi had concocted various stories and had taken the entire blame of killing her son as she had assumed that no one would suspect that a mother would kill her son. Talking to a lawyer before the murder, she had even asked him indirectly how a person could evade murder charges and them made up stories of Chaitanya having fallen in the bathroom.
The subsequent story of Chaitanya making sexual advances was also a planned move to lead the police to believe that the murder was an act of self-defence. Investigations have revealed that Chaitanya was beaten up thrice on August 5, the day he was killed. Rakhi had beaten him up in the morning and, in the afternoon, when she was in office, Sumit had assaulted Chaitanya. The cellphone’s location and call records have established that Sumit was in Rakhi’s house between noon and 5 pm that day. The couple then beat him up together when Rakhi returned. “When we reached Sassoon Hospital, where Chaitanya had been brought dead by Rakhi and Sumit, we found Rakhi eating ice cream,” said a police officer.
‘She tortured him’
Rakhi’s estranged husband Tarun (44), who recorded his statement with the police on Monday, said, “Chaitanya was a premature baby and had spastic diplegia (a form of cerebral palsy) since birth. In 2010, I had received a certificate from a Nagpur Hospital, which said he was 56 per cent disabled, but the certificate which police have shown me from a Pune hospital shows that he was 75 per cent disabled. That really shocked me and shows the extent to which my innocent child was tortured.”
“Now, my motive is to ensure my son gets justice. He was a brilliant boy and was good at cricket. He was even the captain of his team when he was in a Nagpur school. On Monday, when I visited the Tingarenagar home for the first time since the murder, I came to know from neighbours that my son was tortured on several occasions. When I interacted with his friends, even they said that Chaitanya was tortured and insulted on various occasions and Rakhi used to beat him in public,” added the distraught father.
Officials from the Vishrantwadi Police told mid-day that more charges may be brought against Rakhi, who is currently charged with murder and common intention. Since Chaitanya had not been sent to school for months, the police have sought a legal opinion on whether she should be booked under other sections of the Indian Penal Code and under the Right to Education and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Acts.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Khadki division) Swapna Gore said, “It was cold-blooded murder, committed to hide the illicit relationship. Chaitanya was a hindrance in their (Rakhi and Sumit’s) marriage and so they killed him. We are probing the case and when we visited the school we learnt that Chaitanya had cleared his fifth standard but was not sent to school by Rakhi this academic year. We are waiting for the viscera reports and we may slap additional sections to make the case stronger, for which we have sought legal opinion.”
A senior officer said, “Many facts have been revealed in our investigations. We have found that Rakhi was booked for charges of adultery on two occasions in the Vishrantwadi Police station itself, based on complaints of other women. In one case, an FIR was taken and in the other, a non-cognisable complaint was registered. This was before Sumit came into her life.”
The officer said, “On Sunday night, Rakhi finally spilled the beans and revealed that Chaitanya was beaten up by her and Sumit as he was a hindrance to her marriage and they also wanted the money from the Rs 10-lakh insurance policy in the boy’s name. Now, both the accused are playing a blame game and claiming the other person is responsible for the murder.”
“Initally, Rakhi had taken the entire blame and Sumit had planned to safeguard her and make sure she got a clean chit. When we spoke to the lawyer the couple had been in touch with, he claimed he had only been called and told that Chaitanya had fallen in the bathroom and suffered injuries, and he had advised them to rush him to a government hospital,” he added.
>> The initial plan was for Rakhi to leave her boyfriend-cum-landlord, Sumit More, out of the picture as they thought no one would suspect that a mother would kill her son
>> The story of Chaitanya having made sexual advances at her was also a backup plan to make the police believe that the murder was an act of self-defence
>> Officials say the couple murdered Chaitanya as he was a hindrance to their marriage and they wanted to claim a Rs 10-lakh insurance policy in his name
>> Rakhi was reportedly found eating ice cream by police officials at the hospital the night Chaitanya died
>> Rakhi was also booked on charges of adultery twice, before Sumit came into her life
>> The duo are now allegedly blaming each other for the murder
>> Chaitanya’s father, Tarun, has alleged that the boy was 56% disabled in 2010, which went up to 76% disabled this year, proving how much he was tortured by Rakhi
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