An official of Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT), a public sector undertaking (PSU) which is facing shutdown, committed suicide by jumping off stairs of an overhead water tank located on the factory premises in Pinjore on Monday morning.
The deceased had been identified as 57-year-old Kamaljeet Singh Naagi, joint general manager at the tractor division of the HMT.
Naagi was one of the employees who had not been paid for the past 19 months. Though the HMT employees claimed that Naagi took the extreme step due to financial constraints, the family said they were not facing any financial problem as they were well-off.
Naagi’s wife Nihal and his younger brother Dr Jagjeet Singh blamed HMT executive director Col KP Mishra (retd) for driving him to commit suicide and the police booked Mishra for abetment to suicide on their statement. They alleged that Mishra used to harass Naagi.
Talking to the media, Jagjeet said: “My brother attended a meeting with the executive director this morning. He was called again by Mishra and soon after coming out of his room, he climbed the overhead tank and jumped off.”
“My brother had told us that he was being targeted and harassed. Senior officials were pressing him to force employees to work even as the factory is facing shutdown. Those present at the meeting should also be questioned,” he added.
Denying allegations, Mishra said: “I am surprised that such allegations are being levelled against me. The HMT is facing shutdown. There is no work. There are no targets. Today, Naagi met me just for a few minutes. Even I had joined today after leave as I was not well.”
Talking to Hindustan Times, HMT’s human resource head BD Bijola said Naagi did his engineering from Ludhiana and MBA (marketing) from IGNOU and joined the HMT in 1983. “He worked here till 1991 and after an year’s break, he rejoined the organisation. He used to remain calm and composed,” said Bijola.
Naagi’s personal assistant KL Batra said as usual, he reached office around 8:30 am and seemed normal. “He met the executive director and later we came to know that he had jumped off the water tank,” Batra added. Naagi had removed his turban and goggles and kept them on stairs before taking the extreme step.
Meanwhile, the suicide triggered protests by employees who alleged that Naagi took his life as he was facing financial constraints due to non-release of the salary. The agitated employees raised slogans against the Union government and the HMT management.
Pinjore station house officer Mohinder Singh said Mishra had been booked for abetment to suicide on the statement of Naagi’s wife’s. She told the police that Naagi was under stress because of Mishra.
Later, the body was sent for post-mortem to a Kalka hospital.
Naagi has two daughters and the elder one got married in January.