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Nitin Desai case: Loan firm, CEO to face the music

Updated on: 04 August,2023 07:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Anurag Kamble , Dharmendra Jore |

Home minister promises thorough probe into roles of Edelweiss CEO and his firm in connection with ace art director’s death; police to summon officials named in voice note

Nitin Desai case: Loan firm, CEO to face the music

Relatives and friends of Desai at JJ hospital, where his post-mortem was conducted, on Wednesday night. Pic/Ashish Raje

The home minister on Thursday assured a probe into the roles of Edelweiss Group CEO Rashesh Shah and his financial firm in renowned art director Nitin Chandrakant Desai’s death allegedly by suicide. The Raigad police also said they will also be questioning Edelweiss ARC officials who have been accused by Desai, in a voice note, of trying to usurp his ND Studio.
The Raigad police, who are investigating the alleged suicide of renowned art director Nitin Chandrakant Desai, said they will be questioning officials of Edelweiss ARC, as the 57-year-old, in a voice note, has accused them of trying to usurp his ND Studio.

The art director left 11 voice notes, including one urging the state government to acquire the studio, according to sources in the Raigad police. A few notes were addressed to his family. In the longest voice note, which is of 20 minutes, he described his journey in the art world, his struggle and his dream and passion, a source in the Raigad police said.

Nitin DesaiNitin Desai

In one clip, Desai, who was found hanging in his ND Studio on Wednesday, has accused a few officials of Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) of usurping his ND Studio by pushing him to bankruptcy. After Desai failed to repay a loan, the Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) approached the National Company Law Tribunal as well as the Raigad collector to seize 46-acre land, which comprised 90 per cent of his studio.

4-5 names in voice note

“We can’t say when these voice notes were recorded, because during the wee hours of Wednesday, Desai handed the recorder over to his assistant Yogesh Thakur. But he immediately took it back and asked Yogesh to collect it from his office around 8.30 am-9 am on Wednesday,” said a source.

“He has taken 4 to 5 names of the officials of Edelweiss ARC and objected to their process and questioned their functioning. He alleged the company, rather than helping him reconstruct his loan or getting out of debt, pushed him towards bankruptcy,” said another officer. Desai had instructed Yogesh to transfer the voice notes to his phone through the computer in his office, and WhatsApp them to his sister and his lawyer.

Nitin Desai
Nitin Desai

“Based on the voice notes, we will summon the officials named by Desai for questioning. So far there is no complaint or application from Desai’s family. If they do file one, we will register an FIR,” said a senior officer. In a statement sent to mid-day on Thursday, Edelweiss ARC said, “We are committed to fully cooperating with all the relevant authorities. Our commitment to transparency, cooperation, and adherence to the legal process remains steadfast.”

Took a stroll

On Tuesday, Desai arrived from New Delhi and went to ND Studio, where he offered prayers at the temple. “He then took a stroll on the property, and visited all the sets,” Yogesh said in his police statement.

“Then, he asked me to get the key to the main studio floor, which is hardly 100 meters from the office. He then asked me to open the door and switch on the lights. A rope was hanging at the centre and there was a ladder nearby. I didn’t suspect anything, as he had already told us a couple of months back that the rope was there for vastu reasons. After checking the rope, Desai left for bungalow No. 2 and took the key with him,”  Yogesh stated. 

Raigad cops, who have registered an accidental death report, have secured CCTV camera footage of the studio. “The suicide must have happened between 4 am and 6 am, because footage of him walking towards the main studio floor is of around 4 am,” said another source.

Death by hanging

His post-mortem examination was conducted at JJ hospital by an expert panel of four doctors. The report mentions the cause of his death as ‘asphyxia, due to hanging’. His blood and viscera samples have been kept reserved for further chemical analysis. 

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