CM steps in as man cuts off finger to protest police inaction in suicide case
Speaking about the nature of the alleged harassment faced by his brother, Dhananjay told HT, “My brother had given ₹10 lakh cash a person a day before the suicide. I learnt about this while scanning his bank account details. Police should investigate this, as it means the accused were harassing him for money too
Thane: At 6am on Friday, Phaltan-based Dhananjay Nanavare, 43, chopped off his right forefinger on-camera and put up the video on social media to attract the government’s attention on police inaction in the case of suicide of his brother Nandkumar Nanavare, 45, and his wife Urmila, 44, in Ulhasnagar. The couple, parents of two children – 19- and 14-year-olds -- died by suicide on August 1. In a suicide note and a video taken on their phone they named people who allegedly drove them to commit the act. Vitthalwadi police registered a case of abetment to suicide against eight people, who have since sought anticipatory bail.
As probe into the case has not progressed since then, Dhananjay warned the government that if investigating agencies do not swing into action, he will send a body part every week to deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Soon after the video went viral, chief minister Eknath Shinde instructed doctors at Ruby Hall Clinic, in Pune, to treat Dhananjay and carry out reconstructive surgery on his hand. A green corridor was created to transport him from Phaltan, in Satara district, to Pune, approximately 100 kilometers away. The CM has also ordered police to act swiftly in the case.
The deceased couple lived in Aalshepada, Ulhasnagar. On August 1, Urmila jumped to her death from the terrace of their bungalow and Nandkumar followed her, said Thane police, hat has taken over the investigation from Vitthalwadi police. The persons mentioned in the suicide note were identified as Sangram Nikalje, a resident of Phaltan, advocate Nitin Deshmukh, Dyaneshwar Deshmukh, Naresh Gaikwad, Shashikant Sathe, Kamlesh Nikam, Ganpati Kamble and Ranjitsingh Naik Nimbalkar. Before their death, in a video the couple said they were being constantly harassed by them. The cause of harassment is still unclear to the cops.
Speaking about the nature of the alleged harassment faced by his brother, Dhananjay told HT, “My brother had given ₹10 lakh cash a person a day before the suicide. I learnt about this while scanning his bank account details. Police should investigate this, as it means the accused were harassing him for money too. He often told me that people like Sangram Nikalje and Ranjeet Singh Nimbalkar were mentally troubling him – they would call him at any time of the day.”
Deshmukh, he said, took advantage of his “big contacts and forced him not to settle the ongoing court cases with the neighbours”. He said CCTV footage from their house was also provided to the police, in which “some of these people are seen visiting the house”.
“I am still very sure that I will cut my body parts one by one to get justice for my brother,” said Dhananjay, adding that doctors have told him that a reconstructive surgery was not possible.
In the video Dhananjay had said to protest the injustice meted out to his family, he “cut his finger to gift the Modi Sarkar – it is the same finger that I used to vote for this government”. He protested that nearly 20 days after their deaths no arrests were made and that the whole family was living in fear. “How can this happen despite the presence of Fadnavis and Shambhuraje Desai in the government,” he said in the video.
When HT contacted the guardian minister of Satara and state excise minister, Shambhuraje Desai, he said, “Dhananjay Nanavare had neither lodged any complaint nor did he approach me in with his grievance. His brother and sister-in-law spent their entire lives in Ulhasnagar. However, we have taken serious cognizance of the case and the chief minister has ensured that Dhananjay gets medical treatment.” The minister added that he had spoken to the collector and superintendent of police, in Satara, as well as the commissioner of Ulhasnagar to look into the case. “There was a land dispute between the deceased and the accused. There will be thorough investigation to find out if they were harassed and forced to end their lives,” he said. The investigation was transferred to Thane crime branch. Sources from Thane police said, “According to initial investigation and statements recorded of the Nanavare family members, including Dhananjay, the role of the eight accused is unclear at this stage. The Nanavare family had filed cases of atrocity against their neighbours in Phaltan. Both the Deshmukh lawyers were representing the other side.”
“Dhananjay, who cut his finger, is yet to give clear information about all the names mentioned,” said a senior police official associated with the investigation. Senior police inspector of Anti-extortion cell, Maloji Shinde has confirmed they have detained four persons for questioning -- identified as Naresh Gaikwad, Shashikant Sathe, Kamlesh Nikam and Ganpati Kamble – mentioned in the suicide note.