Television actress Pratyusha Banerjee had allegedly tired of both her parents and boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh's nagging. Hoping to clear the air around her sufferings once and for all, Ruchika Saxena (name changed), the 34-year-old former domestic help of the actress, told mid-day on Saturday that Pratyusha's mother and Rahul fought with her frequently to gain control of her finances.
Pratyusha's mother Shoma Banerjee disapproved of her relationship
Saxena, a small-time model from Khar, said she was struggling to make ends meet when she was introduced to Pratyusha. She began working as a maid at the actress' residence in Kandivli in December last year and followed her when she moved to Goregaon. Saxena, however, quit the job on March 20, just days before the alleged suicide on April 1, because a hard-up Pratyusha couldn't afford to pay her salary.
Saxena, who claimed to be close to Pratyusha, said the actress' mother, Shoma, disapproved of Rahul and repeatedly asked her to leave him. Rahul had allegedly no love lost for Shoma, either - he, too, kept asking Pratyusha to cut her mother off her life. "Whenever her mother snapped at him, Pratyusha got worked up and angry, and would pick a fight with her," Saxena said. "She kept telling Pratyusha to give her money to the parents, instead of Rahul. Both Pratyusha and her mother fought bitterly over this."
At the end of each bitter fight, Pratyusha allegedly used to tell her mother to leave her house. "Rahul disliked her parents so much that he even blocked her parents' numbers on Pratyusha's cellphone," said Saxena.
Rahul Raj Singh with Pratyusha
The former maid said the actress regretted that she was the only unmarried person in her gang of friends. "Meri sari friends ki shaadi ho gayi, sirf mein hi bachi hoon," Pratyusha once confided in Saxena. "She wanted to marry Rahul at any cost and spend her entire life with him. She was ready to do anything for this. One day, she told me that she had decided that she would drop the subject and would wait for Rahul to make plans for the wedding on his own," said Saxena.
Under Rahul's thumb
The ex-maid said the actress loved going out, watching movies and meeting friends, but Rahul didn't let her do so. "He was afraid that she would establish contact with her former boyfriend."
Abuses over phone
Around a fortnight before the alleged suicide, an allegedly abusive call from Rahul, who was in Sri Lanka at the time, left Pratyusha in tears. "When I asked her, she told me that someone had told him that she had been meeting her ex-boyfriend," said Saxena.
Saxena believed that the couple's relationship wouldn't last because of their many differences. "She was madly in love with him, but his love was fake," she said. When Saxena warned Pratyusha that Rahul was cheating on her and was only hankering after her for her money, the actress brushed it off.
Loans from maid
Saxena claimed that Pratyusha's financial condition was so poor that she had to borrow money from her six to seven times. "Her financial condition worsened after she shifted to the Goregaon residence. Distressed, she started consuming liquor in the morning itself. For the last three years, she had not bagged any big project and Rahul would take whatever she earned through other work. She would send the rest of the money to her parents."
Saxena said Pratyusha was planning to start a small travel agency and needed Rs 4 lakh for the venture. "She didn't want to work in the industry anymore; she just wanted a peaceful life as a homemaker." She believed that Rahul's failure to commit to a wedding date was the trigger for Pratyusha's alleged suicide. The Goregaon police have recorded Saxena's statement.