Rishi Shah (in white) and ACP Sanjay Kadam at Bandra police station on Tuesday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Karan (Joseph) faced mental torture, and emotional and physical abuse during his stay with Rishi (Shah). This is what friends of the 29-year-old pianist, who jumped to his death from Bandra's Concorde building on Saturday, have alleged in a six-page letter they submitted to the Bandra police yesterday.
The police, who have registered a case of abetment to suicide, continued to record statements of Karan's friends as well as of Shah's domestic help, identified as Vinod.
Shah was called to the Bandra police station twice on Tuesday. An officer said, "He was called in to record his statement and he repeated the same thing he'd said on the day of Karan's death."
On September 9, Shah had told the police, "Karan arrived at my house around 7.30 am. My friend Suzana from Australia and I were home then; she was asleep. Around 8, she woke up and joined us. We were listening to music and chit-chatting. Karan told me that last night he was at a party at his friend Tej Brar's house, where Sohail and Varun and 10 to 15 other friends were present, and they all were upset with him (Karan). I told him to not take these things seriously and to enjoy the music. My domestic help got us juice then. Karan went and sat by the window with one leg hanging outside. And before I could think or even do anything, he jumped."
"Suzana Uusmaa's statement was recorded on the day of the death," said a source.
The police said Vinod, in his statement, said, "On Saturday morning, Karan came home and was sitting on the couch with Rishi and his friend. I asked them if they wanted breakfast. But Rishi told me to get pomegranate juice and I did. Then I heard a sound like a door opening. When I turned to look, I saw Karan sitting on the window ledge with one leg outside, and then, he fell down."
Here's what happened
A timeline of events, as given by Karan's friends, starting from the night prior to his death...
8 pm - 10.30 pm: Karan messages Randolph, pleading with him to come to Rishi's house.
10.56 pm: Karan messages Randolph "I'M JUST SCARED BRO"
1.38 am: Randolph replies "You okay bro?"
4.01 am - 4.58 am: Karan replies that Rishi is shutting down RAVE (the magazine) and he's angry; later, Karan asks Randolph for help.
4.58 am: Randolph tells Karan to leave Rishi's house.
5.02 am - 5.05 am: Karan messages Randolph, pleading for help and saying he is getting beaten up at Rishi's.
5.17 am: Karan meets Randolph at Drop in Bandra.
5.30 am (approximately): Karan and Randolph go to Tej Brar's house, where eight-odd people, including Sohail Arora, Mandovi Menon, Varun Patra and Raffael Kabbly, are present. (Tej, Mandovi and Varun, who spoke to Karan during his time, said he seemed low. Karan sat by himself, away from the rest of them, having a drink. He was there for about an hour, before he left without saying anything to anyone.)
7.11 am: Karan messages Randolph, saying he reached "home". (From that time till minutes before his death, Karan made several phone calls to friends from Rishi's apartment, some answered and some didn't.)
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The letter prepared by Karan's friends, which they have addressed to Bandra police station's sr inspector, reads...
We, close friends of Karan Joseph, are writing this letter to give the police a wholesome factual matrix to help them investigate and register an FIR against Rishi Shah, CEO of Crossbones Media... We are convinced Rishi is instrumental in Karan's death based on the evidence we have collated...
We have... hard copies of correspondence between Karan and his friends from periods that are relevant for a proper investigation into the incident. We believe Rishi has been pivotal in creating circumstances and an environment that caused the incident. We also believe he is guilty under the IT Act...
According to us, Karan and Rishi became friends a little over a month ago. Rishi, as per various accounts, used to promise contracts to musicians and then start to emotionally, verbally and, sometimes, physically abuse them. We know several who have been victims of such abuse but aren't willing to come on record... They fear for their safety due to Rishi's vindictive and aggressive nature and his seemingly unlimited financial resources. He is known in the industry as nefarious to work with. He appears to be mentally imbalanced and is prone to bursts of anger, aggression and egoistic rants.
Karan became dependent on Rishi for... financial aid. He began to stay at Rishi's house. Rishi began to bully him and even publicly humiliated him at times. Karan has expressed this in messages he sent to Anthony Cammorata on August 26.
We believe Rishi exercised intense control over Karan due to Karan's financial constraints and his love for music, which Rishi brainwashed Karan into believing was a shared love.
After this incident, many from the industry shared their experience with Rishi, saying he was regularly abusive with the people he worked.
The following is a true narration of facts corroborated by correspondence or based on accounts of persons (in the know):
On the night of September 2, Karan's friend Rohan Mazumdar, a musician, was playing at Veranda in Bandra along with Andrew Kanga and Anthony Cammorata. During that time, Rishi came to the restaurant for sometime. Thereafter, Karan's close friends began warning him against associating himself with Rishi.
A friend, Milica Djordevic, told Rohan that Rishi had assaulted her when she used to work with him. Hence, she left the country. She told Rohan to warn Karan that Rishi would be a toxic influence in his life. This was after she saw a Facebook (live) video in which Rishi is seen bullying Karan, who seems visibly subdued and unlike himself. The video and other videos and posts shared online, which show Rishi's aggressive and egotistical nature, have now been deleted by Rishi.
Rishi threatened Milica with legal proceedings in an email dated September 5, asking his lawyers to file false cases against her.
Since Rishi had possibly hacked Karan's Facebook account, he saw Rohan's message to Karan, warning him against working with Rishi. On September 5, Rohan received a (warning) message from Karan... (which the former believes was sent by Rishi). Later that evening, Rishi went on a rant against Rohan with the sole intention of defaming him. Rishi deleted this post later and uploaded an edited version. Annexed hereto is a copy of the Facebook post dated September 5 as Annexure 6. Due to this, on September 8, Clayton Hogermeer, wrote a post on Facebook in support of Rohan, discrediting Rishi. This post is hereto annexed as Annexure 7, which was shared by Karan to show support for Rohan and Clayton. We believe that's when Rishi began to harass him, which eventually contributed to his demise.
In fact, Randolph Correia was the recipient of messages from Karan just before he left Rishi's house, wherein Karan wrote that he was getting beaten up. Randolph has already given testimony that when he picked Karan up, Karan said to him 'Rishi had sent his bodyguard to beat me up'. And right after this incident, on September 9 at 9.26 am, Rishi sent a message to Randolph, which speaks to Rishi's mental state and culpability. Hereto annexed as Annexure 8 is a copy of the message.
We believe Rishi is not being truthful to the police about the facts leading up to and directly relating to the incident.
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