Mumbai: Depressed ex-model killed self after being abandoned by boyfriend

The decomposing body of Archana Pandey was found in her Lokhandwala flat yesterday; a suicide note stated that her boyfriend had abandoned her when she needed him the most

The decomposing body of Archana Pandey, a 26-year-old former model, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her apartment in Lokhandwala, Andheri (West), last morning. Based on a suicide note recovered from the apartment, the police have booked Pandey’s boyfriend, Umar Pathan, for abetment to suicide.

Archana Pandey’s body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her 12th-floor apartment in the New MHADA buildings in Lokhandwala
Archana Pandey’s body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her 12th-floor apartment in the New MHADA buildings in Lokhandwala

Officials from the Versova police said that around 10.30 am yesterday, they received a call from the residents of the New MHADA buildings in Lokhandwala about a foul stench emanating from a house on the 12th floor. On reaching the spot, police officers opened the door of the rented apartment using duplicate keys and found Pandey’s body hanging in the bedroom. They also found a one-page suicide note on the bed.

Senior Police Inspector Arundhati Rane from Versova police station said that Pandey’s body was sent to Cooper Hospital for a post-mortem. “Judging by how much the body had decomposed, we are assuming that Pandey had committed suicide three days ago,” said Rane.

Officers said that Pandey, who stayed alone in the city, took up work as a finance consultant for a production company after she quit modelling in 2009. They said her suicide note named her boyfriend, Umar Pathan, and said he had abandoned her in her time of need. She wrote that Pathan and a woman named Sana had left her when she needed them the most.

Police sources said that while Pandey was earning well and did not have any financial problems, she had been suffering from depression after her brother Ashwin was arrested by the Gujarat Crime Branch in an international scam. A month ago, Pandey had registered a case of kidnapping, thinking Ashwin had gone missing, but realised later that he had been arrested in a Rs 78-crore scam and Rs 76 lakh had been found in his bank account.

Pandey had been making frequent rounds to Gujarat to get Ashwin out on bail, but had failed to do so. She had requested Pathan to help her out, but he had allegedly been avoiding her of late. Officers said that they had recovered Pandey’s phone and found that she had contacted Pathan and sent him a photo, saying that this was her last photo and he would not be seeing her from now on.

“Pathan had sent me a screenshot of the message and asked me to check on her, but when I called her, she seemed normal and told me that she would not do anything stupid. I did not go to her house because I did not find the message serious enough,” said one of Pandey's close friends, whose statement was recorded by the police on Monday.

Pandey’s friends also told the police that she was scared that the Gujarat police would interrogate her in connection with the scam her brother was embroiled in, and had sold her computer fearing this. The Versova police had earlier registered a case of accidental death but, based on the suicide note and the statements of her friends, they have booked Pathan and will arrest him after he returns from Gujarat.

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