Less than 100 metres away from KEM hospital where he was reportedly being treated for depression and schizophrenia, Dr Umesh Pai, a retired deputy dean with the Sion Hospital, was found dead on the ground floor of his building Tuesday morning after falling from his fifth floor residence.
According to the police, Pai (58), who lived with his wife Veena on the fifth floor of a building named Mahalaxmi SRA cooperative housing society, Parel, had retired in October last year and had been suffering from severe depression since.
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The Bhoiwada police are investigating Pai’s death and have registered a case of accidental death in the matter. However, the police said they have not yet ascertained if the incident was a suicide, despite his psychiatric treatment.
“Prima facia evidence suggests Pai could have committed suicide because of depression or it could have purely been an accident as the balcony wall at his house is less than two feet high. We are not sure and are probing the death,” said V Randhive, Inspector, Bhoiwada police.
Randhive denied any allegations that Pai took his life as he had not received his funds. “There is no truth to back these allegations,” Randhive said.
Dr Suleman Merchant, Sion Hospital’s current dean and a former classmate of Pai, said, “He is very tall and the balcony railing is quite low at his apartment. We feel it was a sad accident,” adding that Pai was a very intelligent medical practitioner and an equally good administrator at Sion Hospital.
Primary investigations have also revealed a four line note written in English, possibly by Pai, on a white piece of paper.
“That note is not being considered as a suicide note as it appears he had been depressed for more than six months. By the freshness of the note, Pai could have written that note a few months ago,” Randhive said. He said the note read “can’t do anything more…everything is in the hands of God…whatever has to happen is because of destiny…”
According to KEM hospital officials, Pai was seen with his wife Veena on Tuesday morning for their appointment in the psychiatric department.
A senior official with the hospital who is privy to Pai’s treatment said, “Pai seemed normal on Tuesday. I had not noticed any suicide tendencies for which I needed to alert his wife.” He refused to comment on the schizophrenia treatment being given to Pai but confirmed that he was suffering from depression.
“Pai’s wife, Veena, is a doctor who works at a private hospital. In her statement, she told us that her husband was being treated for schizophrenia and depression for the past few months. We have requested the family to submit all medical reports for us to examine,” Randhive said.
According to his batchmates, Pai had secured tenth rank in Maharashtra when he appeared for Mumbai University’s entrance exam in 1974. He reportedly also contracted tuberculosis during his medical college years.