Mulund suicide: Senior officer had assaulted victim in the past
Sources reveal deceased widow had lodged several complaints of assault against senior inspector Damodar Chaudhary with the local police
The senior police officer, who has been booked on the charge of abetment to suicide after widow Riya Palande, 44, was found hanging at her home in Mulund East on Thursday afternoon, also allegedly assaulted her in the past, police sources said yesterday.
Senior inspector Damodar Chaudhary
Palande, in her suicide note, had claimed that senior inspector Damodar Chaudhary and his family used to harass her; she had also lodged complaints of assault against him with the local police.
Chaudhary, who is attached with Local Arms unit IV, his wife Bharti, an office-bearer with the Nationalist Congress Party, and their daughter Nilakshi were booked by the Navghar police under IPC section 306 (abetment to suicide) after Palande's body and her suicide note, in which the trio is named, were found.
The police are yet to reveal the details of the reason behind the alleged harassment, but a source said there was some dispute over money. An officer said, "Initially, we filed an accidental death report. But after the suicide note was found, we pressed charges. Officers were sent to Chaudharys' Mulund West residence to arrest the three, but they were not home."
Palande used to live with her son and daughter in Samarth Villa, Mulund East, and ran a general store. At the time of the incident, she was alone at home. When someone from the neighbourhood knocked on her door and there was no response for a while, the neighbour called her son, a student. When he entered the house, he found her hanging.
Sources said Palande had lodged several complaints against Chaudhary, alleging that he assaulted her in her shop. When these complaints reached the zonal DCP, he asked an ACP rank officer from another division to look into the matter and carry out a transparent inquiry. A few complaints against Palande had also been lodged, sources added.
Pushed over the edge
Sources said the problem between Chaudhary and Palande had been there for the last few years. Her children told the police that she had been disturbed since long because of the harassment, eventually leading her to take the extreme step. When contacted, Palande's daughter refused to talk, while several phone calls and SMSes to Chaudhary went unanswered.
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