Charudatta Deshpande case: Delegation of senior scribes to meet Home Minister

Jul 11, 2013, 07:05 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Journalists to seek RR Patil's intervention in the case and demand a probe into the mysterious death by the State CID

A high level delegation will meet State Home Minister R R Patil this evening, seeking his intervention in the case of Charudatta Deshpande.

Charudatta Deshpande
Tragic loss: On July 4, a condolence meet for Charudatta Deshpande was held at the Press Club where relatives and friends paid their respect to the former journalist

The former chief of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Tata Steel was found hanging at his Navi Mumbai home on June 28. While it has been ruled as suicide, there was no suicide note and doubts linger over the manner in which the case is being probed.

The delegates will include senior journalists Kumar Ketkar and Ayaz Memon with few former colleagues from the journalism and Public Relations industry. “We are convinced that it is not a simple case of accidental death. We will request the home minister to hand over the case to DCB, CID, Mumbai or State CID, so that we can get to the depth of the matter,” said Gurbir Singh, President, Press Club, Mumbai. “Secondly, we want the investigation to focus on a criminal act, as Charu had told his close friends about being confined in a room, his phones being tapped by a private agency and receiving threat calls from the mafia.”

Rajesh Mascarenhas, secretary, Press Club, added, “The delegates would also hand over a letter to the Home Minister that mentions the MiD DAY article on July 4, titled ‘What drove Charu Deshpande, ex-Tata Steel employee to kill himself’. The letter also includes instances that highlighted the fact that Charu was under tremendous stress following the publication of a cover story titled ‘Remoulding Tata Steel’ by Forbes India magazine in April this year.

Meanwhile, a close friend of Charu said, “Charu had consulted a former Tata steel official in Delhi who had advised him to stay put in Mumbai instead of taking over the assignment at Jamshedpur. Charu still shifted and was on probation for six months, which was extended by another six months. Unfortunately, few weeks before the end of his probation, the Forbes article got published and it turned tables on Charu, for no fault of his.”

Shifting case
Meanwhile, following MiD DAY’s article, the case was taken from police constable R S Nikumbhe of Vasai police station and handed over to Inspector Anil Sandbor, who has now been sent on deputation to Pandharpur, Solapur. Now, Inspector U D Sonawane from Thane rural headquarters has been given the charge of the case.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Deepak Devraj said the police have collected the call details from service providers. “Initially, we had information that Deshpande was using two phones, of which one was given by Tata, but he had already surrendered it to the company after resigning,” he said.

“We have found that Charu had received four phone calls on the fateful day, and we are in the process of recording the statements of those people. Nothing incriminating was found in his iPad,” he added.

A police officer will be recording the statement of K Ramkumar, executive director of ICICI bank who had written to Ratan Tata and Cyrus Mistry, soon after the death of Deshpande.  

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