Considered one of the most promising musicians on the indie circuit, keyboardist Karan Joseph, 29, jumped off a Bandra high-rise on September 9, 2017. Karan Joseph, known in the industry as Madfingers, allegedly committed suicide from a 12th floor flat in Bandra Bandstand's Concorde Apartments.
According to the police, Karan Joseph may have been battling depression, but they were also probing other angles, including a drug overdose
The flat at Concorde belonged to Rishi Shah who Joseph had met in Bangalore. They quickly turned friends and Rishi Shah invited Karan Joseph over to Mumbai. The musician was living with Shah since his arrival in Mumbai back then. According to officials from Bandra police station, Joseph was finding it difficult to adjust to life in Mumbai and was particularly upset about a specific something
According to the police, who had filed an Accidental Death Report in the case, Rishi Shah, Karan Joseph and a female friend and were watching television at Rishi Shah's home when suddenly Karan got up, walked towards the window and jumped out. Rishi Shah and the friend said that they had no clue of what Karan Joseph was about to do
Karan Joseph was rushed to the nearby Bhabha Hospital where the doctors pronounced him dead. According to senior police inspector Pandit Thackeray, "We received a call at 8.30 am about a person committing suicide. We took him to Bhabha Hospital. We have recorded the statement of friends and have informed his parents"
Karan Joseph's father told mid-day, "A day before his suicide, Karan had messaged his mother saying he was in trouble. Without specifying any name, Karan said that people around him were threatening him. He spoke about his financial problems and how most of his friends had abandoned him."
Karan Joseph had sent a despairing message to his mother just a day before his suicide, to tell her he was in trouble. The indie musician had told her that he was in financial distress and felt threatened by people around him. His mother tried to calm him down, never imagining that he would jump to death from a Bandra high-rise
Karan Joseph's mother Tina, a Bengaluru-based paediatrician said, "Throughout the conversation, I was trying to calm him and, by the end of the chat, he did sound fine and emotionally stable. The conversation ended in such a way that though we were worried about our son, we never thought that he would commit suicide the next day."
Karan Joseph's former girlfriend and musician had then said: First things first - I will say that Rishi Shah and his flatmates need to be interrogated further. Karan was a good friend and ex-boyfriend of mine. I don't know the reason behind his death because I haven't been in the country for six months. I think there may have been more than alcohol involved. That's all I know for now. I spoke to Karan a month ago, and he didn't show any signs of depression or anxiety. I think it may have been more than a case of depression and may not have been suicide. You'll need to track down Rishi and his roommates and check."
Indian-American media entrepreneur, Rishi Shah (in picture) is CEO and publisher of Crossbones Media, which publishes RAVE, a magazine that focuses on homegrown music
A young musician from Bandra, who had frequently played with Karan Joseph, said on condition of anonymity that some of his friends were concerned about his proximity to Rishi Shah. They didn't think he was a good influence. He alleges that Rishi Shah was supplying drugs to Karan Joseph, who was taken in by the opulent life Rishi Shah led. "Everything was going good for him, except this character [Shah] who he had made friends with. Shah turned him against his friends," he says
A day after Karan Joseph jumped from the 12th storey of Concorde Apartments in Bandra West, his post-mortem was performed at Cooper Hospital. The preliminary report suggested that he died due to multiple fractures with injuries to vital organs. Samples were sent for forensic examination to ascertain if he was under the influence of alcohol or drug
Two days after pianist Karan Joseph plunged to death, the Bandra police registered an FIR for abetment of suicide against unidentified persons. The police investigated different angles, but sources said that they suspect Karan Joseph may have taken the extreme step due to monetary disputes
Karan Joseph's father, Dr Thomas Joseph, visited the Bandra police station and lodged the complaint. He did not wish to comment after the FIR was registered but had told mid-day on, "I had last spoken to Karan four days before he died and he did not sound unhappy. Something wrong happened to him"
Following the registration of the FIR, the police continued to record the statements of Karan Joseph's friends and also recovered a message that the musician had sent to one of his friends at 5.02 am
Karan Joseph had spoken to one of his friends early in the morning the day he committed suicide and had also sent a message to his friend whose statement we recorded on September 11, 2017. In the message, Karan Joseph had told his friend that he was being beaten up and was in trouble
Friends who were close to Karan Joseph say there are troubling discrepancies in the timeline of events as depicted by his friend and landlord Rishi Shah. After his body was handed over to his family members, who had arrived in the city from Bengaluru, it was taken to the Shivaji Park crematorium, where his final rites were conducted around 7 pm
Ten days after pianist Karan Joseph's mysterious death in a Bandra highrise, Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar transferred the probe from the Bandra police station to the Mumbai crime branch. The case was investigated right from the beginning, for all angles, including for murder
When the investigations restarted again, a cop checked the apartment and allegedly found a drop of blood on the ledge outside the window. So claims a resident of the building, although the Bandra police have denied it. This has come to light even as the crime branch started fresh investigations into all angles, including murder
A day after the parents of musician Karan Joseph made shocking allegations against his friend and businessman Rishi Shah, he was questioned at Bandra police station. Joseph's parents, who are based in Bengaluru, had then issued a statement alleging that Shah had been coercing Karan to sign a contract with him
There was no foul play in the suicide of musician Karan Joseph, the Crime Branch found, but they couldn't find out why he killed himself
Nearly a year after pianist Karan Joseph's unnatural death, his father Thomas Joseph wrote to Mumbai Police in the first week of August 2018, 'pleading for the feedback on forensic and progress in the case'. "Mumbai Police got a very long time to investigate the matter, but nothing has come of it so far. So we have written to the commissioner and copied the letter to the joint commissioner of police (crime). Now, we are waiting for the reply. We want to know what the forensic results were," Dr Thomas told mid-day. In his letter, Thomas raised serious doubts on how Karan's cellphone escaped damage after he allegedly fell off the 12th floor of Concorde Apartments in Bandra West on September 9 last year.
The offices of Mumbai Police Commissioner Subodh Jaiswal and Joint Commissioner of Police Ashutosh Dumbare, received the four-page letter last week. Dumbare told mid-day in August 2018, "We are working on all the doubts raised by his (Karan's) father. His father suspects that the cellphone was planted by prime suspect Rishi Shah."
A crime branch source said that by the time Rishi Shah had arrived at the spot where Karan was lying in a pool of blood, a crowd had already gathered around the body. "How could he have planted the mobile phone in Karan's pocket? I doubt it," the source said. Dumbare said Thomas has requested the police to check the phone's accelerometer to see if it fell with Karan, or was planted in his pocket. The Bandra police had registered a case of accidental death but later converted it to suicide abetted by unidentified person(s). The case was later transferred to the crime branch. An IPS officer privy to the investigation ruled out any foul play
Rishi Shah, CEO of Crossbones Media said, "Allegations can be made by anyone, but evidence should support the allegation. And the evidence that the police have found does not corroborate the allegation made by his (Karan's) father. Also, the forensic report has been out for almost a year." Rishi Shah Illustration by Ravi Jadhav
In December 2018, fed up of being fed the same script again and again, the Josephs have finally decided to break their silence with an exclusive interview with mid-day. Karan Joseph's brother, Ashik, said, "I know my brother, he was always scared of heights. He wouldn't jump from the 12th floor. Rishi Shah is the only person responsible for his death. If not murder, at the very least I would say Rishi is guilty of torturing Karan to the extent that he committed suicide."
Ashik Joseph said, Rishi Shah's friend [Suzana Usma] and manager [Vidhi Shah] were present in the apartment at the time of the incident, and were the sole witnesses to Karan's death. I saw the message Rishi sent to Vidhi a day later, stating 'I am going to jail'. Vidhi responded saying, 'Don't worry, nothing will happen. Soon after my brother's death, they [Rishi and Vidhi] called us more than once, threatening us with consequences." Ashik alleged that his mother even received a call from Rishi's mother, requesting to discuss the case, but his parents refused
The family were more alarmed, however, when Rishi Shah allegedly began to rope in powerful people to try and influence them. "Around five to six months after the incident, former Karnataka minister Dr J Alexander even called on his behalf, while Rishi was seated next to him. The former minister asked my parents to meet Rishi in Bangalore. My parents refused. If he didn't do anything, why did he ask a former minister to reach out to us for him; isn't it fishy?" asked Ashik Joseph. Pic/YouTube
Dr J Alexander, former chief secretary and minister, Karnataka, said, "I know Rishi's parents. I also know that Rishi and Karan were great friends and admired each other. I came to know that Karan's parents were quite friendly with Rishi, and that Karan's mother had stayed at Rishi's apartment in Mumbai for a few days. It is true that I spoke to Karan's father, but only to request him to chat with Rishi, just to listen to what he has to say about the incident. It is not true that Rishi was with me. This is all that I have to state.' All that Rishi Shah said was, "I don't want to speak about this."
In their first ever interview since the mysterious death of musician Karan Joseph, his family members have laid bare all the ordeals they have suffered in the past year. They revealed how, on one hand, the police kept them in the dark about the investigation into their son's death, while on the other, prime suspect Rishi Shah allegedly hounded them with calls and threats. They said Rishi even roped in a former minister from Karnataka to ask them to meet him. Karan Joseph jumped to death from a highrise building in suburban Bandra on Mumbai in September 2016. Here's what we know so far. All pictures/Karan Joseph Facebook
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