A first information report has been registered against a top Tata Steel official for allegedly abetting the suicide of Charudatta Deshpande, former chief of Corporate Communications, who was found hanging at his Vasai home in Thane on June 28, police said on Tuesday.
Prabhat Sharma, head, corporate affairs of Tata Steel, Jamshedpur was booked by Vasai police under section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the IPC, last night at about 8 PM, following a complaint by former Forbes India editor Indrajit Gupta, they said.
According to the complaint filed by Gupta, the 57-year-old Charudatta, a Tata Steel official, was constantly humiliated and harassed between May 2012 and May 2013 following which he took the drastic decision to end his life, police said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Vasai division Prashant Deshpande, is investigating the case.
According to the police, Charudatta had committed suicide in June, sometime after a critical story on the company had appeared in the leading business magazine, which sparked off the alleged harrasement that became more focused and sharp after the publication of the article.
"The article was not, too, negative of Tata Steel but some Tata Steel managers perceived it so and blamed it on Charudatta. It was found that he was uncomfortable with one or two persons and the harassment by his tormentors only increased after the Forbes article," the Mumbai police had said after Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil had ordered Crime Branch to probe the alleged suicide following which the team has begun a parallel investigation into the case.
Soon after Mumbai crime branch began the probe, the investigating team had laid their hands on a piece of evidence from Charu's another residence in Borivili.
Two diaries of 2012 and 2013 were found in which Charu had mentioned about the happenings in office. And in one of the pages, he had even written notes and named some Tata Steel officials.
The content of the pages clearly depicted the mood of Charu, and it indeed reflects that he committed suicide due to unhappiness and frustration at work place, a police official had said.
Charu would jot his personal day-to-day schedules in the diary where a note said, "I go without fear or rancor...It was the biggest mistake to join this company..."
Initial probe also revealed that Charu had no family disputes or problems at home, and that his frustration and disappointment could be on account of his work place and his experiences at Tata Steel.
It was discovered that Charudatta was the first person in Tata Steel who, despite being appointed at a very senior level, was not confirmed in service after completion of his probation.
Also, a police team had gone to the Tata Steel headquarters at Jamshedpur and seized Deshpande's personal computer and examined as many as 1,000 emails he had stored.
Several Tata Steel officers have been quizzed in connection with the case so far even as a departmental inquiry has been ordered by Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry into the circumstances leading to Charudatta's death.
Image: Charudatta Deshpande, former chief of Corporate Communications, Tata Steel