Thane builder suicide: Court rejects anticipatory bail plea of four corporatorshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/thane-builder-suicide-court-rejects-anticipatory-bail-plea-of-four-corporators/

Thane builder suicide: Court rejects anticipatory bail plea of four corporators

Parmar had shot himself in a flat in his under-construction project and had left behind a 13-page suicide note.

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Suraj Parmar, the builder who committed suicide.

The Thane Sessions Court Thursday rejected the anticipatory bail applications filed by four corporators, who are currently under the police scanner, for allegedly abetting the suicide of builder Suraj Parmar.

Parmar had shot himself in a flat in his under-construction project and had left behind a 13-page suicide note, in which he had mentioned some names but had later scratched them out saying that those people might harass his family. The letter was sent for forensic analysis, after which NCP corporators Vikrant Chavan and Najeeb Mulla, Congress corporator Hanumant Jagdale and independent corporator Sudhakar Chavan came under the police scanner.

Arguments on their applications lasted for nearly four hours, with lawyers for each corporator explaining at length why their arrest and custodial interrogation were unnecessary. Their arguments were followed by special public prosecutor Raja Thakare presenting his arguments. In line with the police’s stand of staying tight-lipped about the progress of the investigation so far, Thakare played his cards close to his chest, giving several documents directly to Special Sessions Judge V V Bhambarde for perusal.

The common line taken by all four defence advocates was that the four corporators were only doing their job within the framework of the law by raising questions about Parmar’s work, and that just one paragraph from the 13-page suicide note, which allegedly mentions their names, was being taken out of context to make it seem as if they had driven Parmar to suicide.

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“Our clients are prepared to cooperate fully with the investigation whenever needed. They will present themselves before the police and help with the inquiry. Raising questions on the floor of the house does not amount to a criminal act on their part,” said advocate Hemant Sawant, appearing for Sudhakar Chavan. He added: “There are reports about the applicants being part of a Golden Gang that apparently has created terror in the minds of the builders. If this is true, then what is the police doing? How is this gang flourishing?”

The paragraph in question, which was read out by all four defence lawyers during their respective arguments, reads, “Now I understand. I should have bribed politicians for completion of work on time. I stand firm when politician like {six scratched out names} were harassing me for bribe but now I feel I did a mistake (sic).”

Advocate Suresh Pasbola, who was arguing on behalf of Najeeb Mulla, added, “The deceased himself has given a clean chit to the four applicants by mentioning that he stood firm in the face of their demands. The one paragraph is being taken totally out of context.”

The defence further argued that to charge someone for abetment to suicide, it was necessary to prove the person’s intention of instigating the deceased to kill themselves, and that raising the issue about Parmar’s work and recommending action against him was hardly such an action.

“Parmar was unable to give possession of flats to the buyers in his recent project, as it was stalled because he was yet to pay some penalties. If one of the buyers had filed a complaint against him, would that amount to such an action? Would the buyer then be charged?” said advocate Mahesh Mohite, appearing for Vikrant Chavan.

The charge of the move being politically motivated was also levelled by the defence.

“The head of the state had announced that no one would be spared, and this is a politically motivated move to target members of rival parties. That much is very clear, and that is why only four names are being talked about instead of six. It was already decided to target them and the whole process of sending the suicide note for forensic analysis was a sham,” added advocate Gajanan Chavan, who appeared for Hanumant Jagdale.

Thakare began his arguments by rubbishing the defence’s claims of the corporators being ready to cooperate.

“If they are ready to cooperate, then where are they? Why are they not here today? It is our information that one of them has even crossed the border,” he said, eliciting severe objections from all four lawyers, who said that their clients would present themselves the next morning if the court granted them protection.

Thakare went on to present several documents to the judge, saying that they would explain everything including why only four names were being mentioned and why the police needed to make inquiries with the four corporators.

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After a half an hour recess, the court rejected the anticipatory bail applications of all the four corporators.

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