Thane builder's suicide: 'Suraj Parmar didn't name me in his suicide note'

Shiv Sena corporator Naresh Mhaske was mentioned in chargesheet after three witnesses said he also harassed Suraj Parmar, but he denies the allegations

Will the Thane police charge Shiv Sena corporator Naresh Mhaske in the suicide case of builder Suraj Parmar is the question that has been raised after it was revealed that the chargesheet mentioned his name as well. He is the fifth Thane corporator whose name came up after the chargesheet was produced in court but, so far, only the other four have been charged for harassing Parmar and abetting his suicide.

Naresh Mhaske
Naresh Mhaske

Parmar (49) shot himself on October 7 last year, blaming red tape, non-payment of loans and bribes demanded by politicians as primary reasons for the drastic step. The 3,050-page chargesheet submitted by the Kasarvadavli police in the Thane Sessions Court on February 2, includes statements from three witnesses who said Parmar would complain to them about harassment from Mhaske, as well as the four accused — Vikrant Chavan, Hanumant Jagdale, Sudhakar Chavan and Nejeeb Mulla. These four had been named by Parmar in his 15-page suicide note.

When mid-day contacted Mhaske, who is also the chairman of the Thane Municipal Corporation’s standing committee, he denied the allegations and claimed Parmar was his friend.

“In the standing committee meeting or general body meeting, I never raised any question against Parmar or any of the builders. I never harassed any of the builders or put a Right to Information application against Parmar for any harassment. If I would have harassed Parmar, he would had added my name in the suicide note, which is in the hands of the police,” said the Kopri corporator.

He confirmed that he had been called for questioning by the police. “The investigating officers, including former Joint Commissioner of Police VV Lakshminarayan, had called me for questioning, but they never found anything against me. If I was involved, they would have arrested me. This is merely political propaganda that people are trying totrap me in,” added Mhaske.

He also said that one of the accused, Mulla, was his college friend and that they were close. “I was very close to Mulla; because of that, people might suspect that I was also behind the case, but it’s nothing like that,” he said.

Cop speak
Thane Joint Commissioner of Police Ashutosh Dhumbre confirmed the same and said, “We can’t rely on third-person statements without verifying them first.”

He also added that a supplementary chargesheet would be handed to the court soon, to build on the original chargesheet, which had to be compiled within the 60-day deadline to ensure the corporators could not avail of bail. The court will hear their bail plea today.

His family said
Father-in-law Fatehchand Ranka (62) told the police that Parmar had visited his residence in Pune and told him about the harassment and mentioned that he had written to the chief minister about it too. Parmar told him that he couldn’t write the names of the corporators in the letter as he feared for his family’s life. Fatehchand added that Parmar and his wife Naina (44) had gone to Pune on October 6, 2015 (a day before he shot himself) to meet bypass surgeon Geeta Ranka. At the time, Parmar had said a few corporators were demanding bungalows free of cost in the Cosmos Heaven project, but he said he would not give free bungalows to anyone. Parmar’s wife said, the next day, he was depressed and when she asked him about it, he started crying and told her about the harassment. This was about 9.30 am. After that he drank some tea and left home without breakfast.

Those who knew
The witnesses who confirmed they knew of Parmar’s harassment at 
the hands of the four corporators include:
>> Astrologer-businessman Vallabh ramji Mathejia
>> Parmar’s business partner Manish Mehta
>> Cosmos group’s architect Survarna Ghosh
>> Cosmos group advisor Sheetal Ashok Mhatre
>> Parmar’s father-in-law Fatehchand Ranka
>> His wife Naina
>> His sister Naina
>> Son Abhishek Suraj Parmar
>> Cousin Uday Parmar

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