Navi Mumbai builder critical after shooting himself at home

Relatives and fellow industrymen allege Raj Kandhari (44) was depressed over his key Panvel project being delayed due to lack of clearance from authorities

Yet another builder has turned to suicide, this time in Navi Mumbai. Raj Kandhari, a 44-year-old developer shot himself yesterday at the Sanpada house he shared with his parents, wife and kids. Sources said he had been depressed for six months because one of his projects was held up. Cops are yet to confirm whether it was real estate losses or something else that pushed him to take the drastic step.

Kandhari lived on the 11th floor of Raj Uday complex in Sanpada. Pics/Sameer Markande
Kandhari lived on the 11th floor of Raj Uday complex in Sanpada. Pics/Sameer Markande

Kandhari is currently under treatment for critical head injuries. He runs the Swaraj Builders and Developers Group, which is more than 15 years old. It has various projects across Airoli, Ghansoli, Panvel, Ulwe, Chembur and Koparkhairane.

Raj Kandhari shot himself in his bedroom, while his family members were out in the hall
Raj Kandhari shot himself in his bedroom, while his family members were out in the hall

Flashback to Parmar
Less than a year ago, Thane builder Suraj Parmar had also shot himself to death on October 7. Parmar was driven to desperation by mounting losses due to red tape and non-payment of loans. After his death, cops discovered his diary, where he had named four corporators who harassed him for money. This prompted builders to strike across Thane, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, and a massive investigation was opened into the case.

Cops arrived at Kandhari’s 11th floor apartment at Raj Uday complex and rushed him to MGM Hospital in Vashi
Cops arrived at Kandhari’s 11th floor apartment at Raj Uday complex and rushed him to MGM Hospital in Vashi

Kandhari’s attempt at suicide bears quite a few similarities to this. Apart from the fact that he shot himself, the cops also found his diary, with a cryptic message inside: ‘Jeevan mein utar chadav to aata rehta hai, inka saamna karna chahiye.’

The incident
The incident took place between 2 to 2.15 last afternoon, when Kandhari was in his bedroom in the 11th floor flat in Raj Uday complex. Kandhari used his own revolver, which was licensed by the Navi Mumbai commisionerate in 2008. “He fired a round on the right side of his head and the bullet came out from the other side. Kandhari was in his bedroom, while his mother, sister and brother-in-law were in the hall. There were also two maids: one of them took his lunch to the bedroom. When she found the door shut, she asked the other maid to open it. They entered and were shocked to see Kandhari lying on the bed in a pool of blood. They screamed and ran out to inform the family, who contacted their friends and then the police,” said DCP (Zone I) Shahaji Umap.

The watchman, Ram Babu, was shocked to see cops enter the building and then rush out with Kandhari’s body. “I saw the cops and Kandhari’s driver carrying him in their arms and putting him in the ambulance,” he recalled.

Kandhari’s wife and two kids — a girl and boy — had gone away a few days ago, to attend a pooja at Narayangaon in Junnar. After they found out about the incident, they rushed to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital, where Kandhari is under treatment.

The Sanpada police and the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch are investigating the suicide attempt and the possible motive behind it. “At present there is no clue about the reason. But his diary clearly shows he was in some kind of depression. We are taking statements of the members of the Swaraj Builders group, as well as his friends, relatives and family members,” added Umap.

‘Normal behaviour’
Arvind Goel, chairman of the Navi Mumbai chapter of the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MHCI), said, “Three days ago, Kandhari had met me. At that time, I had asked him whether his health was down. He said all was fine. He never showed any signs of taking such a step. It is shocking; his voice, his behaviour was all very normal.”

He added, “Talking about the real estate situation in Navi Mumbai, almost all projects are stuck because of policy paralysis from CIDCO and NMMC’s side. The situation is bad, but we cannot say whether this was the reason behind Kandhari’s suicide attempt. Only proper investigation will reveal the truth.”

Project stalled
One of Kandhari’s relatives revealed, “He was under depression since more than six months because of the Swaraj Lagoona project in Panvel, which was pending clearance from authorities. It was being delayed as he was not getting an NOC from the authorities at NAINA (Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area). He was a cool person, who was very friendly in nature. It is shocking that he took such an extreme step. We can’t believe he took such an extreme step.”

More messages
The Sanpada police discovered Kandhari’s diary in a cupboard next to his bed, and found three sheets of paper with a few lines written on them: ‘Agar aadmi ek kaam mein safal nahi huwa to use dusre raah ki or jaana chahiye. Humein duniya ke saath saath chalna chahiye. Har aadmi apne kiye huwe karmo ka phal yahi bhogta hai. Kaam karte karte bahut se kathinaiya aati hai.’

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