Unable to bear daily harassment from his boss, a 26-year-old Virar resident took his own life, leaving behind a goodbye photo on his WhatsApp account and a five-page suicide note blaming his employer.
The deceased, Pankaj Bane, resided at Fulpada Road, Virar (E), with his parents, sister Pratiksha (23) and brother Prashant (21). Pankaj used to work at a gift shop in Virar (W) run by Raj Choudhary.
Boss laid a trap?
After the demonetisation drive began in November, Raj gave Pankaj R55,000 in the old currency notes, and told him to hand it over to one Subhash. Sensing a trap, Pankaj refused at first, but his boss allegedly told him it was part of his job. Pankaj handed over the money to Santosh, but after a couple of months, they found out that Subhash had fled with the money.
Raj hadn’t paid Pankaj his wages for three months and, in December, when Pankaj asked for his dues, Raj accused him of taking the R55,000. Shocked, Pankaj denied the allegation and threatened to quit.
Raj countered with another threat if Pankaj failed to cough up the missing Rs 55,000 by April 20. “He continuously threatened to destroy my family or frame me in a false complaint,” Pankaj wrote in his suicide note. When Pankaj went to Devgad to play in a cricket tournament, Raj even visited his home and told his parents that their son had taken his money. Pankaj’s family said that if Pankaj had indeed taken the money, he would give it back when he returned.
Things took an ugly turn when a Palghar policeman threatened to book him in a bogus case. Pankaj’s father, Janardan Bane, told the Virar police, “On the night of April 19, I was unable to sleep. At 3 am, I found my son playing a game on his cell phone.”
“Pankaj said he had a headache and could not sleep. I went back to sleep after drinking a glass of water,” recalled Janardan, adding, “At 6 am, I heard my wife crying loudly. I ran and saw that Pankaj had hanged himself with a dupatta to the ceiling fan in the kitchen. We found his suicide note in his pocket.”
Upon reading the note, the Bane family registered a complaint against Raj and Subhash, who have both been arrested by Virar police on the charge of abetting Pankaj’s suicide.