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Cops grill Tata staff, study Charu's call records

Armed with statements from TATA Steels employees, the official laptop and phone call records of former employee Charudatta Deshpande, a team of Mumbai police officers returned from Jamshedpur on Saturday evening. Deshpande allegedly committed suicide last month and the police are still trying to ascertain whether there were any hidden reasons behind the former journalist and veteran communication specialist taking his life.

A six-member police team headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police Deepak Devraj spent nearly a week collecting clues to ascertain the reason that might have led scribe turned public relation professional committing suicide on June 28.

Speaking to SUNDAY MiD DAY soon after landing at Mumbai, Dy SP Deepak Devraj said, “We have recorded the statements of 25 Tata officials including senior staff. Apart from the statements of the corporate communication staff, even statements of officials from other departments including HR, Vigilance and Mining department has been recorded. Moreover, statement of a senior official at a sister concern has also been recorded.”

Interestingly, the police team has got custody of the official labtop that Charu was using and calls record of his mobile phone that he had surrendered before coming back to Mumbai.

When asked if the police could zero in on a particular reason that might have led Charu to take the extreme step, Devraj said, “We have just returned to Mumbai. In the next two days, we will study the entire records that we have collected from Jamshedpur, correlate them and finally submit our report to Jt Commissioner of Police (crime) Himanshu Roy.

Also legal assistance will be taken before deciding on the future course of action.” The State Home Minister RR Patil had ordered Roy to probe the case, after Mumbai Press Club delegates along with few senior scribe and colleagues of Charu met Patil and explained the circumstances that led Charu to kill himself and demanded a through probe.

Charu had not left any suicide note at his Vasai residence on June 28, but he did mention to his colleagues and close friends of harassment. On Saturday, three more people including senior journalist Prince Mathews Thomas who wrote a piece on Tata Steel in the April, met the Internal Inquiry Committee . Others who deposed were Rajesh Chaturvedi, chairman Ad factors and Vrunda Walawalkar.

Speaking to SMD, Prince Mathews Thomas said, “I narrated the facts about my interaction with Charu, and about the article that I wrote. Also I shared information about my visit to the Kalinganagar plant.” “The panel members seemed pretty serious about the incident and want to understand the circumstances minutely that might have led Charu to take the extreme step. I spend a little over one hour with the panel,” said Thomas.

Mumbai Press Club President, Gurbir Singh, said, “We are following the police probe in the case very closely.” Meanwhile, the Mumbai police team issued a press note hours before they left from Jamshedpur stating, “The investigating team is examining evidence and talking to people in Jamshedpur, to examine the circumstances that led to the death of Charu Deshpande and appealed to anyone to share information relating to the said matter to sdpovasai@gmail.com or vasaisdpo@gmail.com, with an assurance that the information would be kept confidential.” 

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