Maharashtra govt transfers Charu Deshpande`s death case to CBI

Maharashtra government has transferred to the CBI the case of alleged suicide of Tata Steel`s former head of corporate communications, Charudatta Deshpande.

Mumbai: Maharashtra government has transferred to the CBI the case of alleged suicide of Tata Steel`s former head of corporate communications, Charudatta Deshpande. Deshpande (57), a former journalist and Tata Steel`s former chief of corporate communications, was found hanging at his Vasai home on June 28 last year.

Though, no suicide note was found from the house, his friends and former colleagues alleged that he was harassed by the employees of Tata Steel.

A case was registered at Vasai police station. Vasai police and Mumbai Crime Branch conducted joint investigations into the death, though no breakthrough was achieved.

"The case has now been transferred to the CBI," an official at Home Department said today. Mumbai Press Club, in a statement said, "acceding to requests, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil on Thursday transferred the probe into Deshpande`s suicide to the CBI."

The release claimed, "Both the family members of Charu (as he was popularly known) as well as the Mumbai Press Club had earlier given separate letters to the Home Minister stating that the investigation into charges of abetment against Tata Steel officers had run aground and were deliberately not being pursued by the Thane Rural Police."

Vasai police station comes in Thane Rural jurisdiction. In a series of interactions between a Press Club delegation and the Home Minister over Wednesday and Thursday, it was pointed out to the latter that the Thane Rural Police had failed to take Prabhat Sharma, whom the Press Club delegation described as prime suspect, into custody for interrogation.

"Thane Police were neither aware of the internal inquiry of Tata Steel into the death of Charu nor did they make attempts to access it after being told of the report`s existence. This pointed to the shoddy police investigation," the Club claimed.

"The Police was also not aware that the Tata Steel had taken action against two officials ? the company`s Vice President Partha Sengupta was asked to go, while Prabhat Sharma had been transferred from the sensitive corporate communications department to general administration.

"Despite earlier commitments, Tata Steel has not yet made the findings of its internal inquiry public," the statement said.

The Press Club also presented the Home Minister with the provisional findings of the Psychological Autopsy report that said "it was not clinical or other forms of depression but months of harassment and mental torture that led Charu to take his own life."
The conclusion of the report said, "Charudatta Deshpande did not suffer from depression or any serious mental illness before his demise. He appeared to be troubled by stressors from his last employment and felt threatened weeks and months before his death."
In a separate and recent development, the Tata Steel board has made an offer of monetary compensation to Charu`s wife Nivedita Deshpande, and the members of the family are considering the offer, the club claimed.

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