It’s been a year since Nagpur-based Tarun Balpande lost his only son Chaitanya. Though gradually, he is learning to gather himself, the last one year has been a harrowing experience for him. Unlike earlier, when just the mention or thought of his son would make him break into tears, Balpande today, is a far stronger individual.
Exactly a year ago, 13-year-old Chaitanya was allegedly murdered by his own mother, Rakhee, and her alleged lover, Sumit More. They allegedly hit Chaitanya with a cricket bat that caused multiple injuries and fractures, and eventually led to his death. Chaitanya stayed with his mother in the city in a flat in SB Enclave in Tingrenagar.
A few weeks after his son’s murder, Balpande had resigned from his job in Nagpur to dedicate his time to the court case. He had just one desire — to see Rakhee and More hanged to death. He’s been satisfied with the court proceedings and feels good about the fact that the accused duo’s bail plea got rejected in February. It’s only after this development, around three months ago, he paid heed to his family’s advice and picked up a job with a private company.
In the last one year, Balpande has visited Rakhee in Yerawada Women’s Cell and has tried to convince her to give him a divorce. “But she hasn’t agreed. In fact, she says she is quite confident that she will soon be released from the jail. When I met her the first time in jail, she told me I was the first person to visit her, as neither her mother nor her sister visited her,” says Balpande, adding that during all his visits, his aim was to make her agree to a divorce. “I didn’t spend too much time or talked about anything else. One thing I observed was that there was no remorse in her. I cannot forgive her. As far as divorce is concerned, I will file a case in the family court,” says Balpande.
The distraught father says during investigations, it was revealed that Rakhee used to starve Chaitanya and lock him in the house. The boy would very often ask neighbours to give him food.
Around four years ago, Rakhee filed for a divorce, after which the custody of Chaitanya was given to Rakhee. Balpande claims that though initially Rakhee demanded Rs 25 lakhs as alimony, two years ago, her lawyer called him and said that if he can pay her Rs 5 lakhs, the duo can opt for out-of-court settlement. “But I declined saying that I will follow the regular court procedure,” he says.
Balpande was given permission to meet his son every last Sunday of the month. However, every time Balpande would call Rakhee on last Saturday of the month to inform her about his Pune visit, she would ask him to cancel the plan. “She would give some excuse such as Chaitanya is ill or she is taking him out somewhere,” he says, adding that he applied thrice for custody of Chaitanya but kept getting a different hearing date.
The last time Balpande met his son was in May 2014. “During the four hours we spent together, Chaitanya told me a number of times that he wants to stay with me. I wish I knew why he kept saying that. He obviously couldn’t say much because Rakhee was around. But Rakhee’s mother knew everything; at least she should have given me a hint,” he adds.
Over one year, Balpande may have learnt to move on, yet, he seeks quick justice for his son and wants to see Rakhee and More hanged to death.