May 30, 2021 1:05:22 am
Almost three months after the Mumbai Police registered a case against Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) administrator Praful Khoda Patel and eight others for allegedly abetting MP Mohan Delkar’s suicide, investigators said they are yet to make any progress in the probe.
The police have so far visited DNH twice in the last two-and-a-half months but only recorded the statement of Delkar’s son Abhinav. Patel is also an administrator for Lakshadweep and Daman and Diu. As per the investigators, Patel is one of the main persons named in the FIR and he has been in the news over the past few weeks for floating controversial proposals in Lakshadweep.
On February 22 Delkar ended his life by hanging himself to ceiling fan at Hotel Sea Green South in Marine Drive. He had left a 15-page suicide note in which he had allegedly written the names of the administrator and several other administrative officials from the Union Territory.
The suicide note, written in Gujarati, also said that he is ending his life in Mumbai as he believed that the Maharashtra government and the police would take action against those who instigated him to end his life.
Soon after his death, a special investigation team (SIT) was formed and two weeks later, a case under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 506 (criminal intimidation), 389 (putting person in fear or accusation of offence, in order to commit extortion), 120(B) (conspiracy) of the IPC and Sections 3(1),(N), 3(1)(P), 3(2) (2), 3(2)(5,a) of the Prevention of Atrocity Act, 1989, was registered at the Marine Drive police station.
“We recorded Abhinav’s statement while lodging the FIR,” an investigator said. A senior IPS officer, who is overlooking the probe, said, “In March and April, our team visited Dadra and Nagar Haveli to record statements, however, as some of the witnesses we wanted to talk to had fallen ill, we could not record any statement.”
The team was again sent in April to continue their investigation, but then also the officers had to return empty-handed.
“After that, our investigating officer ACP Pandurang Shinde got Covid-19 due to which the investigation has not moved ahead,” said the IPS officer.
While another officer privy to the investigation said, “We are looking for witnesses and documents to support our investigation, for which a team had gone there. But there is no progress. Apart from Abhinav’s statement, we have recorded a couple of more statements but they do not hold much significance to our probe. Abhinav’s is the only important statement we have so far recorded, which was recorded at the time of registration of FIR.”
Abhinav in his statement to the police alleged Patel had demanded Rs 25 crore from his father to prevent from implicating and arresting him under the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act, 1985. He added that Patel had sought to take control of SSR College, constructed by the late MP with an estimated Rs 100 crore.
In his statement to the police, Abhinav also accused the local administration for purposely trying to sideline him by not inviting his father at government functions.
“At DNH, things were done to sideline and instigate Delkar but we are still looking for witnesses and evidence that will support our findings,” the IPS officer said.
The police have named nine officials in the FIR, but are yet to summon anyone as they claim that they shall call them only after receiving concrete evidence.
Abhinav said, “I was in Mumbai last week to meet the investigators. I was told that the probe has slowed down due to Covid.”
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