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Vasai police relief for Tata executive

Tata Steel senior executive Prabhat Sharma, charged with abetting the suicide of former top PR man Charudatta Deshpande’s suicide under Section 306 of the IPC, has withdrawn his anticipatory bail plea with Vasai sessions court in Mumbai on Friday.

Vasai police decided not to apply for Sharma’s custodial interrogation.

Sharma’s counsel Aabad Ponda confirmed these two developments.

“I am in New Delhi. Sharma was supposed to withdraw his bail application today (Friday),” Ponda told The Telegraph over phone from the national capital.

Complainant Indrajit Gupta, the former editor of business magazine Forbes India, who had lodged an FIR against Sharma at Vasai police station in November 2013, was also present at the Vasai sessions court on Friday.

But the Vasai police’s decision to not apply for Sharma’s custodial interrogation has earned lot of flak from the Press Club of Mumbai, which has been closely monitoring the developments.

“Such a turn of events raises serious questions about the intent of the police investigations, which have anyway stretched for more than six months,” said Gurbir Singh, president of the Press Club of Mumbai.

He added Thane deputy SP (rural) and the investigating officer Prashant Deshpande had said on December 11 last year that they would take Sharma in custody if his bail application was rejected.

Fed up with the slow pace of progress of the investigation, a delegation of the club even met Maharashtra home minister R.R. Patil about a week ago to demand that the case be transferred to another unit of the police.

Tata Steel board, which held an internal inquiry on Charudatta’s suicide, also decided not to share any details of its findings. No clear reason was stated for this decision.

Charudutta, who had a successful career first as a journalist and later as a public relations official, committed suicide at his Vasai residence in Mumbai on June 28 last year, almost two months after he left Tata Steel. He worked with the steel major for about a year.