Raja’s close aide Sadiq Batcha ‘commits suicide’
Batcha`s company Green House Promoters was used as a front for channelling Raja`s loot.
Chennai: Former telecom minister A Raja’s close aide Sadiq Batcha, who was questioned by the CBI in connection with the 2G spectrum scam, committed suicide at his house here on Wednesday.
Batcha hanged himself from the ceiling in his house located in central Chennai at around 11.00 am today. His body has been taken to the Apollo Hospital.
Police said late tonight that Batcha, whose official and residential premises were raided by CBI and questioned at least four times in the last two months, had left a suicide note in which he had stated that he was "embarrassed" by the raids and the extensive media coverage of the raids.
He had also said that Raja is a "good human being".
As the news of his death spread, DMK’s detractors suspected foul play in the death of Batcha with one of them saying he could have been "bumped off" because he "knew too much".
The 47-year-old Batcha, who was the Managing Director of Greenhouse Promoters, a firm under the scanner of the CBI as well as the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the spectrum allocation scam, was said to have been found hanging from the roof of the bedroom of his house in Vannia Teynampet in South Chennai by his wife and his driver around 1300 hours.
The two rushed him to Apollo Hospital where doctors declared him "brought dead".
"At about 1.20 PM Sadiq Batch was brought to Apollo Hospital by his wife Bhanu. Doctors declared him brought dead to the Apollo hospital. The family says he had hanged himself," Chennai Police Commissioner T Rajendran told reporters.
The body has been taken to Government Royapettah Hospital for post mortem, he said but declined to get into the issue whether it coule be a case of murder. The post mortem will be done tomorrow.
"I won`t speculate on that," he said when asked whether it could be a case of murder.
Police have registered a case and was conducting an inquest under Sec 174 of the CrPC that deals with unnatural death.
Bhanu, accompanied by a relative, drove to Teynampet police station in the evening and filed a complaint, the details of which were not released.
While she avoided the waiting media, a senior police official said on condition of anonymity that Bhanu said in her complaint that she and her driver had seen Batcha`s body hanging from the roof in the bedroom of their house.
"He (Batcha) could not cope with the pressure of the probe," the official said quoting from his wife`s statement.
In a long suicide note, Batcha is said to have written that nobody was to be blamed for his death and that he wanted to be reborn.
In the note, he asked his wife to continue to live in Chennai and take care of the education of his two children.
Batcha was said to be planning to fly to Delhi this afternoon for questioning by CBI, which said that his death would have no any bearing on the probe in the 2G scam.
But CBI sources said the agency had not planned to question him today or tomorrow.
"There has been no pressure from CBI on Batcha. He was cooperating with CBI. The development is unexpected but it will not affect the investigation in the ongoing 2G spectrum scam as all the evidence has already been recorded," the CBI spokesperson said in New Delhi.
Top CBI sources said he was a "suspect" in the case and was cooperating in the probe, raising the prospect of his turning an approver during trial.
Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy, who has moved courts for involving him in the probe into the spectrum scam, said he was not surprised by the development.
"I would say that the Supreme Court has monitored the petitions we have filed which is rocking the whole capital. Therefore, it is an inevitable prospect. Some murders or suicides can take place," he told reporters in Delhi.
Noted political analyst Cho Ramaswamy, a strong critic of the DMK to which Raja belongs, said the 2G case is getting murkier.
"It could very well be a murder. Perhaps, the man knew too much. He was scheduled to travel to Delhi today. Why should it happen to him. I do not believe this," he said.
The CBI and Enforcement Directorate had conducted searches at his official and residential premises here in December. He was called for questioning four times since then as part of a probe whether he was acting as a front for the former minister.
Batcha, hailing from Perambalur, place of Raja`s political upbringing, rose from humble origins to create assets worth several hundred crores of rupees in a short span of time.
Incidentally, Raja`s wife M A Parameswari, was a director of Green House Promoters. Raja`s other relatives are also reported to be associated with the firm.
Batcha owned several other firms, and agencies are examining if his firms could have acted as a front for possible kickbacks in the scam, the sources said.
As he headed several real estate firms, the agencies were trying to find out if there was any money trail related to them in the scam.
Shahid Balwa, MD of DB Realty, who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail after being arrested by the CBI in connection with the 2G scam probe, has told the agency that he knew Batcha for the past few years.
Sources said the agencies were focusing on the financial dealings of Batcha to find out how a company that began operating a few years back, went on to create assets worth several hundred crores of rupees in just a short span of time.
With PTI Inputs