In an incident that yet again illustrates the stress and strife of life as a cop in the state, Additional Director General of Police (Addl DG) of Maharashtra police Ranjit Kumar Sahay reportedly attempted suicide on Saturday night by setting himself ablaze. Sahay has been admitted to Bombay Hospital at 11.30 pm with 55 per cent burns.
Sahay is said to have been locked in conflict with his superiors in recent times, and had even complained to his colleagues about the behaviour meted out to him by them.
According to the police, the incident occurred in the first floor apartment of Avanti-Amber building in Malabar Hill.
Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjiv Dayal and Commissioner of Police (CP) Dr Satyapal Singh visited Bombay Hospital later, but refused to comment on the incident.
“We have initiated a high level inquiry,” Dayal told the media. Speaking to MiD DAY, Dayal said, “I only came to know that Sahay has been admitted to Bombay Hospital. The reason is not yet known.”
According to sources, Sahay’s wife Ralu (45) has attributed the incident to an accident. She is said to have explained that during a puja at home, Sahay tripped over a can of kerosene or petrol while he was holding a diya, which lead to this mishap.
She has also said that the can of fuel was kept there for dry-cleaning purposes.
Harassed by seniors?
An IPS officer who passed out of the 1986 batch, Sahay had been posted in the housing department of the state’s police force.
Sources from the state police department revealed that Sahay’s superiors had recently withdrawn his constable from his service.
Sahay was also forced to travel by trains to Nashik, Pune and other spots, even if the trips were made on duty.
“I am aware that he was being harassed by his superiors unnecessarily. He was in depression,” said a batchmate of Sahay, on condition of anonymity.
Sahay was in the news recently after his report was submitted to the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), against managing director of Maharashtra State Road
Transport Corporation (MSRTC) Deepak Kapoor for alleged irregularities in the corporation during his tenure.
Sahay was posted as the chief vigilance officer at MSRTC and did not see eye-to-eye with Kapoor.
He had also protested against having to report to Kapoor, who he said was his junior, as Kapoor was an IAS officer of the 1991 batch.
Sahay has sustained serious burn injuries on his forearms and scalp, as well as internal burn injuries.
A doctor from the hospital said that his condition is extremely critical, and he has been kept in a quarantined room in the ICU, so that his injuries don’t get infected.
A team comprising an intensivist, a plastic surgeon, and an ENT doctor are observing him round the clock.
Sahay has a son, Soham (18) who is a Second Year law student in Pune, while his daughter Nandini (18) is studying fashion designing.
-- Inputs from Anuradha Varanasi
Our View: Police distress a sign of stress? Comment P20
Police deaths under pressure
>> August 28, 2006: Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vinod Bhatt (55), from ATS, had committed suicide on the railway tracks at Matunga due to pressure from his superior.
>> July 8, 2012: Prabhakar Patil (54), a sub-inspector attached to Turbhe police station had shot himself inside a local train at Belapur. A suicide note found in his pocket stated that he was taking the extreme step owing to harassment by his senior inspector.
>> July 31, 2013: Chandrakant Mahajan (42), assistant police inspector from Chunabhatti, had shot himself with his service revolver inside the police station last month. Mahajan too was frazzled because of his superior’s conduct.