Mumbai Crime: Woman's suicide video helps catch her abuser
The woman's husband discovered a clip on her mobile phone a month after she killed herself in their Taloja flat. She narrated how their neighbour had made her life a living hell after forcing himself on her and later blackmailing her for money
For a month after he found his wife hanging from the bedroom ceiling fan, Madan, 32, desperately tried, and failed, to understand what pushed her to the drastic step. Until, one day, he spotted her phone and found a video she had made in her final moments. She narrated how their neighbour had made her life a living hell after forcing himself on her, and later blackmailing her for money.
The woman detailed how he had forced himself upon her in July, and then began blackmailing her for money, threatening he would leak obscene pictures of her. He demanded Rs 30,000 from her, but she did not have the money to pay him, nor could she muster the courage to confide in her husband. Madan had moved to Taloja from Gujarat with his newlywed wife four years ago. He set up a grocery store in the same neighbourhood, and his wife, 26, would visit him every afternoon and evening with his lunch and tea.
No warning signs
On September 11, though, his wife only showed up once, at lunch time. "My wife came to the shop in the afternoon with our 2-year-old son. We chatted and she went home. There was nothing unusual about her behaviour," recalled Madan. "But I grew worried when she hadn't come to the shop by 5.30 pm, when she would usually bring tea for me and my workers. She hadn't even replied to my calls, so I decided to go home, where I got the shock of my life," he added.
Madan knocked the door, but got no response. He broke open the door and found his son sitting on the bed and staring at his mother hanging from the ceiling fan. The Taloja police filed an Accidental Death Report (ADR), and Madan completed his wife's last rites in Gujarat. He and his son returned on October 1 and moved to his brother's home, where his belongings had already been shifted earlier. On October 6, Madan had an emotional moment as he went through his wife's belongings, and chanced upon her cell phone.
The suicide video
"The phone's battery had drained, so I charged it, and was browsing through the gallery. I found a video my wife had made on the day she committed suicide. When I played it, I was stunned," he recounted, adding, "My wife had recorded a video in Gujarati, narrating how a man had been making her life hell, torturing her, sexually exploiting and blackmailing her for money."
The man was later identified as someone who lived in the same neighbourhood. The woman detailed how he had forced himself upon her in July, and then began blackmailing her for money, threatening he would leak obscene pictures of her. He demanded Rs 30,000 from her, but she did not have the money to pay him, nor could she muster the courage to confide in her husband.
Madan reported the video to the police, who arrested the accused under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the IPC. Ajay Kumar Landge, senior inspector at Taloja police station, confirmed the arrest. "He has been remanded in police custody till October 12." An officer added, "He is unemployed and works at his brother's shop. We are also investigating the deceased's claims that the accused and his friends had harassed her. She said that not only had he molested and blackmailed her, but his friends would also loiter outside her home and stare at her."
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