Dressed in a pink saree, 50-year-old Nirmala Desai began weeping as soon as a woman constable escorted her inside court number 26 at Borivli.
Desai and her brothers, identified as Babban and Datta Desai, were arrested for allegedly extorting money from Inspector Shivaji Patil, who shot himself with his service revolver at the Borivli police station on Sunday.
Nirmala was Patil’s first wife — they had separated 12 years ago.
The three accused are charged with abetment of suicide, suicide and breach of trust. On Monday, the three, residents of Sewri, were remanded to police custody until April 23.
Representing the accused, advocate Vijay Thakur argued that Nirmala’s police custody was not required as prosecution had all the evidence, including custody of the service revolver used in the suicide, the suicide note and the legal notice sent to Patil, which had allegedly compelled him to shoot himself.
Thakur pleaded that Nirmala had undergone bypass surgery a few years ago and was a heart patient, which should be considered as grounds for not allowing police custody.
“This is a clear case of Patil avoiding payment of maintenance to his wife of more than 30 years. There is no extortion involved as the legal notice sent to him merely mentioned his liability to pay maintenance to Nirmala, failing which she would approach the family court,” said Thakur.
Police said the suicide note found near the body said Patil was committing suicide following pressure from his first wife to pay her money.
“Although Nirmala had given him in writing that she had no objection to Patil remarrying, she had been pressuring him to pay her since the last few years. Patil had paid her up to Rs 7.5 lakh. Then she started demanding another Rs 10 lakh, which pushed Patil to suicide,” said Senior Police Inspector Bhagwan Chate from the Borivli police station.
Police sources said that after Patil returned from his rounds, he got a phone call, during which he argued with someone. After hanging up, he paced about in the room, then shot himself a few minutes later.