A one-page suicide note left behind by Anvay Naik, the managing director of a Mumbai-based architectural and interior designing firm, said he and his mother decided to take the extreme step on account of payments due to them not being cleared by the owners of three companies – television journalist Arnab Goswami of Republic TV, Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia and Niteish Sarda of Smartworks. The three firms owed Naik’s company, Concorde Designs Pvt Ltd, Rs 83 lakh, Rs 4 crore and Rs 55 lakh respectively, the note said.
The Alibaug police registered a case of abetment to suicide against the three named in the note after Naik committed suicide by hanging himself in his Alibaug bungalow on Saturday morning. His mother Kumud Naik, also a director on the board of the firm, was also found dead.
Alibaug police said on Sunday that in his note, Naik has asked the owners of the three firms to repay his creditors. “The note is written in English and says that he and his mother Kumud are directors of Concorde Designs and have mutually decided to commit suicide,” said a senior police officer. “The note ends with his signature, but doesn’t bear the signature of his mother.”
While Icastx offers cloud-based services to companies creating content, Smartworks is a startup offering co-working spaces. Both companies are based in Mumbai. On Saturday, a note released by Republic TV said all payments due to Concorde had been already paid.
Before those named in the FIR are called in for questioning, police will study the contracts between Naik and the three companies, invoices raised, paid and outstanding sums, said investigators. Based on a complaint by Naik’s wife Akshata, a case of abetment to suicide was registered by the Alibaug police against the three on Saturday.
Details with the Registrar of Companies show Concorde Designs Private Limited was incorporated in 2002 and is involved in the manufacture of furniture. Kumud and Anvay Naik were directors of the company. Its registered office is at Dadar East. As per March 31, 2016 records of the company, Anvay Naik held 60 per cent of the shares of the interior designing firm while the remaining 40 per cent was held by Kumud Naik.
The company made a loss of Rs 4.45 crore for fiscal 2016, the latest available record, as against a profit of Rs 12 lakh a year ago. Concorde Designs has a total debt of Rs 19.57 crore and bank overdraft of RS 10.37 crore. The total trade receivables of the company for fiscal 2016 was Rs 6.63 crore, while the trade payables was Rs 7.51 crore.
According to the financial statements, the firm made losses of Rs 8.21 crore and Rs 4.74 crore in fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2013 respectively.
The police will await a chemical analysis report to understand how Kumud died.
The Alibaug police is also trying to piece together the sequence of events and has recorded statements of the bungalow caretaker, the local police Patil (an intermediary between police and local residents) and local villagers in Kaveer village, Alibaug, 105 kilometres from Mumbai.
Local villagers told The Indian Express that Naik had sold off some properties in Alibaug to pay creditors. “He was developing a project in Alibaug but the project was stuck as he was not able to pay off people. He was facing financial problems for a while now,” said Police Patil Sameer Patil who was the first to reach Naik’s bungalow after the caretaker found the bodies.
Madhukar Patil, the caretaker, reportedly told the police that his wife last spoke to Kumud on Saturday morning around 7 am. Kumud lived in Alibaug while Naik visited her occasionally. Around 13 days ago Kumud was unwell and went to Mumbai. “On Friday she returned with Anvay. On Friday night my wife served them dinner while the two were watching TV. After cleaning the untensils we retired for the day. We sleep in the servant quarters which is adjacent to the bungalow and we heard nothing through the night,” Madhukar told The Indian Express.
On Saturday around 7 am, when Madhukar’s wife asked Kumud if she should prepare water for her bath, Kumud reportedly said she had a headache and wanted to rest. “An hour later when my wife went again, the main door was locked and nobody was opening it. I have the keys to a side door which also opens into the living room. When we opened the door, I saw Kumud was lying on the sofa. Her body had turned cold. I then rushed to the first floor, the door was ajar and Saheb was hanging from the ceiling. I then called the police Patil who called the local police,” Madhukar added.
While the cause of Naik’s death was ascertained as caused by hanging, doctors at the Alibaug Civil Hospital reserved their opinion in the case of Kumud. “The body was brought in around 5.30 pm on Saturday. By then rigor mortis had set in the bodies except for the necks. This is because the neck bones were already damaged in both the cases. While in the case of Naik it was due to hanging, we are yet to ascertain the cause of death of Kumud,” said Dr Ajay Ingle who carried out the post-mortems.
With inputs from Khushboo Narayan