Charudatta Deshpande suicide case: Vasai police begin inquiry against Tata Steel employee

A day after the first information report (FIR) was registered on Monday, the police have begun their probe against Prabhat Sharma, deputy head of corporate communications and corporateaffairs at Tata Steel, Jamshedpur. The Vasai Road police yesterday submitted a copy of the FIR at the metropolitan magistrate court in Vasai. Deputy Superintendent of Police (Vasai Division) Prashant Deshpande said, “We have submitted the copy of the FIR to the court on Tuesday and have began our probe. We will record the statements of people and gather evidence accordingly.”

Untimely death:  Charudatta Deshpande was found hanging at his Vasai home on June 28, and had resigned from Tata Steel two months earlier in April. File pic

Acting on a complaint received from Forbes magazine former editor Indrajit Gupta, the Vasai police had registered the FIR 143 days after Charu was found hanging at his Vasai home on June 28. The complaint stated that Charu was constantly humiliated and harassed by his former employer, following which he took the extreme step to end his life. When asked if the police would also consider the statements and records collected during the initial probe, Deshpande replied in the affirmative.

MiD DAY has learnt that the police, during its initial probe, had already recorded written statements of as many as 47 people, including family members, close friends, journalists and colleagues of Charu in Mumbai and Jamshedpur. The police have already taken custody of Charu’s handwritten diary notes, mobile phone, notepad and even the computer that he was using in Jamshedpur. Interestingly, during their visit to Jamshedpur, the police team had even recorded a two-page preliminary statement of Prabhat Sharma, where he claimed to have cordial relations with Charu.

Meanwhile, attempts to contact Sharma in Jamshedpur proved futile, as his mobile phone was switched off, while there was no response on both his residence and office landline numbers. A Tata official in Jamshedpur, on condition of anonymity, said, “Sharma reported to work on Tuesday morning, but he left the office, shortly, without informing anyone about where he was going.”

When asked about Charu, the official described him as a humble human being and refused to make any further statement. Gurbir Singh, president, Press Club, Mumbai, said, “It is time for the police now to gather all possible evidences against the accused Prabhat Sharma without causing any further delay, as the police have already put in lot of efforts in recording and collecting information. The police now have to filter this data to build a strong case against the accused and bring the case to a logical conclusion at the earliest.”

Tata Steel responds
“Tata Steel is aware of the FIR filed by the Vasai police in the matter relating to the unfortunate demise of its former employee, Mr Charudatta Deshpande. The company has been fully and openly cooperating with the investigation, and will continue to assist the legal process. The internal enquiry committee has submitted its report to the board,” said the Tata Steel spokesperson. 

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