Mumbai police booked Prabhat Sharma, Head, Corporate Affairs of Tata Steel, Jamshedpur, for abetment of suicide (Section 306 of IPC) Monday, in connection with the suicide case of Charudatta Deshpande, former chief of corporate communications.
Sharma was Deshpande’s deputy. His name was allegedly found in one of Deshpande’s diaries. The police finally booked him based on a complaint by former Forbes India editor Indrajit Gupta.
“The probe has found that he had been harassing the deceased, which could have led him to end his life. No arrests have been made so far,” said Prashant Deshpande, deputy superintendent of police, Vasai Division.
A Tata Steel spokesperson in a written email response said, “Tata Steel is aware of the FIR filed by the Vasai Police in the matter relating to the unfortunate demise of its former employee, Mr Charudatta Deshpande. The company has been fully and openly cooperating with the investigation, and will continue to assist the legal process. The Internal Enquiry Committee has submitted its report to the Board.”
“Deshpande had written that Sharma had vested interests and was playing office politics making his time in the company difficult. He had mentioned words like ‘harassment’ and ‘pressure’ in the diary,” said a senior crime branch official. “Experts confirmed that the handwriting was Deshpande’s,” the official added.
The police had been conducting preliminary inquiries after former press colleagues of Deshpande suspected that his suicide was “uncharacteristic of him” and needed to be probed, according to a senior crime branch officer. On July 11, home minister R R Patil had announced a crime branch probe into the incident.
While Deshpande did not leave a suicide note, various leads collected during questioning of friends and family members spurred the police to take note of Gupta’s 13-page complaint letter.