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UP police officer’s family, friends say he had no reason to kill himself

Rajesh Sahni, the UP police officer with the state’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), shot himself dead in Lucknow on Tuesday.

india Updated: May 30, 2018 15:03 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
UP Police,UP ATS,Suicide
UP Provincial Police Service officer Rajesh Sahani shot himself dead with a a service pistol at ATS headquarters in Gomtinagar in Lucknow.(HT Photo)

Friends and family members of Rajesh Sahani, the UP police officer who shot himself dead in Lucknow on Tuesday, refuse to believe that he could have committed suicide and want Central Bureau of Investigation to probe.

While Rajesh’s septuagenarian parents — Prem Sagar Sahani and Kanta Sahani — had left Patna for Lucknow Tuesday evening itself, his cousin Manoj Kumar Sahni and wife Lovely Sahni who live next door, were in a state of shock and disbelief. Rajesh also left behind an elder sister.

“There should be a thorough inquiry, preferably by the CBI, into Rajesh’s death. He was bold and would never ever commit suicide,” said Manoj, an automobile dealer.

Rajesh who was with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for around two years before joining Uttar Pradesh’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in July 2014, visited Bihar twice on assignments as a police officer, recollected Manoj. He was part of NIA team that probed the multiple blasts at Bodh Gaya in July 2013 and the October 2013 bomb blasts at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan.

“He used to talk less, may be because of the nature of his job. He would not share with us any official information,” said Manoj.

Rajesh’s classmates from St Xavier’s High School, Patna, described him as a courageous, honest, bold and a jovial person with an independent mind. They, too, believe that Rajesh wasn’t the kind of man who would take his own life.

A 1984 batch student from Xavier’s, Rajesh was on leave for the past five days. He was scheduled to travel to Mumbai on May 31 for the admission of his daughter Shreya who was to join the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai for her master’s programme beginning June 4. He was to return to Lucknow on June 5, said his school friend Neeraj Goel, head of marketing in a German company, based at Mumbai.

“I can’t believe he committed suicide. We had been talking over the last one week, fixing his travel plans to Mumbai. He was supposed to come and stay with me in Mumbai and we had plans to drive to nearby Lonavala or Khandala over the weekend,” said Goel.

“Rajesh was thinking of a family vacation in Ladakh or Cochin later this year. He wanted my family and me to join him. There was not even 0.01% inkling that this would happen. The guy was strong and happy,” added Goel.

Animesh Kumar, an engineer with a cellular phone manufacturer in Gurgaon, described Rajesh as a very balanced person who would never commit suicide.

“Rajesh was the brightest student and one of the best in our class. He stayed with me for a few days after I called him over to Delhi while he was preparing for civil services after college in the 1990s… I simply cannot believe this is a suicide,” said Kumar.

“Rajesh joined Zee TV for a year or so before he cracked the UP provincial services. His language skill set, both in English and Hindi, was very good. He valued my suggestion before taking a conscious decision to join the police,” he added.

His friends said Rajesh was very close to his wife Shalini Sahni who is a painter. Theirs was a love marriage and they were a close-knit family, they recollected.

Lokesh Sharma, another schoolmate in Jharkhand, described Rajesh as a straight forward person with an independent mind.

After completing his matriculation from St Xavier’s, Rajesh did his intermediate and graduation from Patna College, where he was decorated with the ‘Chhatra Ratna’.

Today, the ‘jewel’ is no more — a fact his family and friends find hard to come to terms with.

First Published: May 30, 2018 14:49 IST