Raigad police in Maharashtra on Friday registered a criminal case against five persons including Edelweiss Group chairman Rashesh Shah for alleged abetment of art director Nitin Desai's suicide.
The accused allegedly harassed Desai, 57, for loan repayment, the police said, citing the complaint filed by his wife.
Edelweiss ARC, in a statement, denied that any undue pressure was brought to bear on Desai for loan recovery.
A First Information Report was registered under Indian Penal Code sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 34 (common intention) at Khalapur police station based on a complaint filed by Desai's wife Neha Desai, an official said.
The FIR named Edelweiss chairman Rashesh Shah, company official Smit Shah, another person named Keur Mehta, R K Bansal of Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company, and Jitender Kothari who has been appointed by the NCLT as an interim resolution professional, the police official said.
The accused will be asked to join the probe, he added.
Her husband was facing repeated mental harassment in connection with the loans his company had taken and he committed suicide because of it, Neha Desai alleged in the complaint.
Desai, who had worked for acclaimed Bollywood films such as "Lagaan" and "Jodhaa Akbar", allegedly hanged himself at his studio at Karjat in Raigad district on Wednesday.
His company had defaulted on a Rs 252 crore loan repayment to creditors and the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal had initiated insolvency proceedings against it.
Desai's company ND's Art World Pvt Ltd had borrowed Rs 185 crore through two loans from ECL Finance in 2016 and 2018, and troubles with repayments started from January 2020. ECL Finance is a non-banking finance arm of the Edelweiss Group.
Rashesh Shah and others "tortured and mentally harassed" Desai for the recovery of loans, Neha Desai alleged in her complaint.
She lodged the complaint after listening to the voice notes which her husband had recorded before allegedly hanging himself, said the police official.
Shah tried to usurp the studio which her husband had built with hard work, Neha Desai alleged in the complaint.
Shah did not respond to his calls and harassed Nitin Desai "with the help of EOW, NCLT, DRT", she claimed.
"Shah did not cooperate though there were two or three investors who were ready to invest in the studio," Nitin Desai purportedly mentioned in his audio notes, as per the FIR.
"A Marathi artist is being killed by these persons. They are hatching a conspiracy, suppressing me and finishing me off," Desai purportedly said in the audio recordings.
As per Neha Desai's complaint, Rashesh Shah approached them in 2016 and offered them a loan.
The land on which the studio stands was mortgaged with the company for the two loans Desai took.
Desai was repaying the loan amount from time to time but in April 2019 ECL Finance demanded six months instalments in advance, Neha Desai claimed.
Her husband sold his office in Hiranandani scheme in Powai (Mumbai) to arrange repayment, she said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, film shootings stopped, affecting the business and leading to delay in repayment, she added in the complaint.
Her husband was ready for a one-time settlement of the loan but the accused did not respond to his offers, she alleged.
Kothari had threatened to send "bouncers" and take possession of the studio on Sunday, she claimed.
Nitin Desai allegedly suffered a loss of nearly Rs 100 crore due to the actions of the accused, the FIR said.
Edelweiss ARC, meanwhile, in a late evening statement, denied that it put any undue pressure on Desai for repayment. It followed the RBI-mandated procedure, it said.