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'She heard mahamrityunjay jaap over phone before jumping to death'

This is what 38-year-old Naval Agarwal had told MiD DAY hours before being arrested on charges of abetting suicide of wife, who leapt off the 12th floor of her Kandivli building with her infant son

The Kasturba Marg police investigating the suicide case of a 30-year-old woman from Kandivli, who jumped off the 12th floor of her building with her three-year-old son, have arrested the husband of the deceased for abetment to suicide. The arrest was made based on the allegations of mental torture made by the brothers of the woman identified as Nandita Naval Agarwal.


Pushed over the edge? Nandita Agarwal with Binayak in her arms;
(below) her husband Naval, the accused


According to police officers investigating the case, a day after Nandita jumped off the 12th floor of Samarpan building in Kandivali (East) with her son Binayak, her brothers from Kolkata claimed her body and recorded their statement with the police, alleging mental torture by Naval (38) leading to her suicide.

Nandita's nephew Abhiruk Mukharjee told the police that there were differences between the couple, who are from different castes. He also alleged that his aunt was taunted by Naval and his family and was always kept at a distance. Nandita's brother also levelled allegations against Naval, saying that he used to come home drunk and harass Nandita, and did not allow her to visit her relatives.

The family claims Nandita was frustrated due to her husband's behaviour, and her son's speaking disorder only added to her depression. Nandita was cremated and Binayak was buried on Friday afternoon by relatives in Dahisar.

Barely an hour before the incident, the mother and son had called off their trip to Kolkata. The causes are yet unclear.

Sole witness
The family's domestic help Bhavan Mandal was present at the scene at the time of the incident.  He had accompanied Nandita and her son to the airport in the afternoon.  

"At 5pm madam called me and told me to come home as she had also retuned. When I reached, she asked me to cook some food. While I was in the kitchen, she came in and asked me to leave. She then switched on the gas. I stopped her but she slapped me. I was leaving the room to make a call to Naval sir, when I saw her light a matchstick and set herself ablaze. I immediately went in and doused the fire but within seconds she carried Binayak and ran towards a window and jumped off," said Mandal.

 "We are now trying to find out who Nandita spoke to, which made her cancel her flight hours before she committed suicide," said Rajendra Thakur, senior police inspector of Kasturba Marg police station.

Based on the allegations of Nandita's family, the police arrested Naval on Friday evening. He had arrived in Mumbai on Thursday night from Varanasi.

The other side
Hours before police arrested him, Naval defended himself saying there was nothing wrong with his marriage.
"In fact, I called up Nandita at 4pm and put my phone on speaker and made her hear the Mahamrityunjay Jaap
for 30 minutes on her demand. I did not find anything wrong in her conversation with me.

I was shocked when the police called me and informed me about her step. I have lost my wife and son and now I will have to prove my innocence in court," said a distraught Naval.

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