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Fresh date in Charu case

Mumbai sessions court on Wednesday deferred the bail hearing on Tata Steel corporate communications executive Prabhat Sharma to December 11 as the investigating officer in the case wanted more time.

The Jamshedpur-based head of corporate affairs and communications of the steel major, Sharma stands accused of abetting the suicide of the company’s former top PR man Charudatta Deshpande on June 28, 2013, at his Vasai house.

Legal sources in Mumbai said the court in north Vasai deferred the decision on Sharma’s bail as investigating officer-cum-deputy superintendent of police (Vasai division) Prashant Deshpande sought more time to complete his probe.

Confirming this over phone from Mumbai, DSP Deshpande told The Telegraph: “The hearing has been postponed to December 11 as we sought more time for our investigation. The Tata official (Sharma) also did not appear in court today (Wednesday).”

Legal sources said Sharma could evade arrest till December 11 till his bail hearing.

Sharma’s cellphones continued to remain switched off.

A team of Thane police led by Deshpande is expected to leave for Jamshedpur either on Wednesday night or Thursday morning to interrogate Tata Steel officials.

“The police team is expected to reach Jamshedpur in a day or two and gather more evidence against Sharma, the accused in the FIR lodged at Thane police station by Indrajit Gupta, former editor, Forbes India magazine,” a police officer in Mumbai, not willing to come on quote, said.

Veteran journalist Gupta, in his 12-page complaint lodged on November 18, 2013, with Thane police stated former PR head Charudutta Deshpande was driven to suicide due to harassment, mental torture and humiliation he endured during his stint at Tata Steel, Jamshedpur, at the hands of Sharma.

Charudatta killed himself after he quit Tata Steel.

A critical article in Forbes India, April issue, on the challenges facing Tata Steel, is allegedly why Charudatta was blamed by a section of the Tata management. Sharma worked as Charudatta’s deputy.

Booked under Section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the IPC by Thane police, Sharma went to Mumbai and filed the bail application with the sessions court on November 26.

In July, a joint police team from Thane and Mumbai had visited Jamshedpur.

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