The school in Kathara, Bokaro, where Babulal Sahu hanged himself. (Pankaj Singh)
The headmaster of a government middle school in Bokaro hanged himself on campus on Friday afternoon, taking the death wish to pandemic proportions in a state that sees more than 100 suicides every year.
Babulal Sahu (59), who was about to retire in a month from the Kathara cradle, 55km from the steel city, was apparently fearing arrest over an ongoing inquiry into a school funds bungling case.
However, whether he was actually involved in misappropriation of the money meant for construction of the school building, which began in 2007, is not clear.
According to school sources, Sahu reached the campus much before time on Friday.
He asked a grade IV employee to clean his chamber, enquired about teacher attendance, chatted with a few informally and then locked his office to make a noose out of a bedsheet and hang from the ceiling fan.
Though the elderly man did not leave behind a note, police confirmed suicide based on circumstantial evidence.
Around 12.30pm, the hanging body of the headmaster was first spotted through a window by a group of students who were playing on the ground. They informed their teachers, who rushed to Sahu’s chamber, but it was too late.
Sources said Sahu lived in a rented house barely 300 metres from the school.
According to his landlord Suresh Kumar Naik, the headmaster had expressed his anxiety over an ongoing departmental probe into school funds embezzlement, which had landed two of his colleagues behind bars.
“He often told me that if the inquiry singed his reputation, he would be devastated. He said all his money was hard-earned and might be forfeited if he was arrested,” Naik said, adding they all knew Sahu as a respectable man.
Colleagues too agreed with what the landlord said.
Kathara police outpost in-charge Subodh Lakra said the body had been sent to a Tenughat hospital for post-mortem. “Statements of his school colleagues suggest Babulal Sahu was frustrated, but the exact reason behind his suicide is a matter of investigation,” he added.