In her dying moments, model-turned-actor Shikha Joshi allegedly named well-known cosmetic surgeon Dr Vijay Sharma, among others, who she claimed had been troubling her, said a friend in her statement to the police on Sunday. Her words were recorded on a cellphone by the friend Joshi was living with.
While the police said the authenticity of the audio recording would have to be verified, Joshi’s friend Madhubharti Pathan has told them that the actor was quite depressed in the past week because of her failure to secure employment.
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Sharma, meanwhile, said, “The matter is sub judice, so I cannot make any comments. She was afraid of being convicted in court and so she has done this. This is a blackmailing racket and the truth will eventually prevail.” In October 2011, Joshi had accused Sharma of molesting her while performing a breast examination. He was then arrested by the Khar police. Later, in November 2013, Joshi and her brother were arrested for pelting stones at Sharma’s clinic in Andheri (West). The surgeon was charged with molestation in separate instances in 2008 too and got bail in both cases.
The 2011 case is still being heard at a Bandra court. “We will speak with him (Sharma) and record his statements in the coming days. We will make inquiries with everyone under suspicion,” said Samadhan Dhanedhar, Assistant Commissioner of Police, D N Nagar Division. He added that the voice recording would be sent to the Kalina Forensic Sciences Laboratory for verification. Joshi, 40, allegedly slit her throat with a kitchen knife Saturday evening at Pathan’s house in New Mhada Colony, Andheri (West).
According to the police, before rushing Joshi to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, where she was declared dead, Pathan had asked Joshi why did she try to take the extreme step.
“She was conscious and able to speak for a while. She said the cosmetic surgeon and a few ‘married men’ had been troubling her. By then, my husband Riyaz arrived and we took her to the hospital. I recorded what she said on my cellphone because I did not want the police to suspect me of any wrongdoing. She then began to wave her arms and gesticulate,” Pathan said.
On Monday, the police had also dusted Joshi’s fingerprints on the door of the bathroom and conducted a forensic examination of the apartment. Pathan, the only person present at home when Joshi allegedly killed herself, told the police that Joshi had been depressed for the last eight days.