A 33-year-old undertrial allegedly committed suicide in his cell at the Thane Central Jail on Thursday night.
Rajendra Gupta, who was arrested on March 14 for allegedly beating his wife, reportedly hanged himself with his trousers. But his family and friends, who claimed he had surrendered himself to the Kandivli police, suspect foul play. They didn’t even know that he was at the central jail since March 18.
“On the night of March 13, Gupta had a fight with his wife Beautydevi, 26. He beat her very badly and her condition was serious. The next day, he surrendered at the Kandivli police station,” said Kishen Mandal, a family friend.
The family assumed that he was at the police station and collected money for his release and to send him and his family to their hometown. “But on Thursday, we got a call at 10.30pm that he had committed suicide,” said Mandal.
The family claimed that when they went to the jail, the police behaved rudely with them.
“When we asked to see the body, they told us to go to the JJ Hospital. We do not believe that he committed suicide. How can one commit suicide in jail when there are so many guards and prisoners around?” asked Mandal.
Jail officials, however, maintained that Gupta, who used to sell clothes on the streets, committed suicide around 9pm.
“He was initially lodged in the general barrack but was shifted to a separate cell on Thursday because the doctor said he was suffering from depression. In the afternoon, he kept mumbling that he was going to be released. As it was Ambedkar Jayanti, we had locked up the cell in the afternoon,” said jail superintendent Yogesh Desai.
“Around 9.15pm, a constable saw him standing near the bars of the cell and asked him to sit down. When Gupta didn’t reply or move, the on-duty officer came and saw that he was hanging from the bars from his trousers. The doctor was called immediately and he declared Gupta dead,” said Desai.
“We did the panchnama on Friday morning as we cannot do it after sunset. That’s why, we didn’t show his body to his relatives,” he added.
The body has been sent to JJ Hospital for a post-mortem. Gupta is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.