Mukesh Kumar Pandey
Chief minister Nitish Kumar has expressed shock and grief over the death of 2012-batch IAS officer Mukesh Kumar Pandey, whose body was found on the railway tracks near Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday night.
In his condolence message, Nitish, who was in New Delhi when the incident occurred, said: "Mukesh Kumar Pandey's death is a very heart-rending incident. He was an efficient administrator and a sensitive officer. May his soul rest in peace."
Pandey, 29, a resident of Saran district's Dariapur Sajha village, had assumed charge as district magistrate of Buxar on August 4 this year. On Thursday, he had left Buxar for Patna to see an ailing relative but went to Delhi where he checked into the Leela Palace hotel (room number 742).
Before leaving for Delhi, Pandey had handed over the charge to his subordinate and deputy collector Taukri Akram. An employee of Buxar circuit house said: "Saheb had left his room number 8 around 4am on Thursday. He was staying in the circuit house after assuming charge as district magistrate."
Pandey's bodyguard Manav Shankar said he had dropped "DM saheb" at Patna airport from where he went to Delhi. He had promised to return to Buxar from Delhi in two days. "I don't know what prompted him to commit suicide," Shankar said.
Ghaziabad senior superintendent of police (SSP) H.N. Singh said a purported suicide note was recovered from Pandey's pocket which said he was committing suicide.
"Another suicide note (in a diary) had been found in room number 742 of Leela Palace," the SSP told The Telegraph over phone on Friday.
"Prima facie it appears to be a case of suicide. Pandey had informed his friends and relatives about his suicide on WhatsApp. His mobile phone has been seized. The call records of the phone are being analysed," Singh said.
Quoting from Pandey's suicide note, the Ghaziabad SSP said: "I am committing suicide in district centre area of Janakpuri in West Delhi - by jumping off the 10th floor of the building. I am fed up with life and my belief in human existence has gone. My detailed suicide note is kept in a Nike bag in room 742 of Leela Palace in Delhi. I am sorry, I love you all! Please forgive me."
Pandey is survived by his wife and a two-month-old daughter who live in Patna. He was married about two years ago. His elder brother Rakesh Pandey lives abroad.
A pall of gloom has descended at the young IAS officer's ancestral village. His uncle Anil Pandey said Mukesh's father Dr Sudheshwar Pandey had distributed sweets after the couple's daughter was born.
"Our world has collapsed like house of cards," Anil said.
Mukesh's grandmother Kaushalya Kuer was equally shocked. "I still have memories of his wedding at a star hotel in Patna. He was married to a good family from Patna. But everything is lost now," she said.
Residents remembered they had celebrated when Mukesh had cracked one of the country's toughest examinations in 2012.
"We had celebrated the occasion as Diwali. Sweets were distributed among the residents," said Mukesh's childhood friend Anand Pandey.
He had promised that he would come back to his ancestral village only after becoming an IAS officer. "He kept his promise," Anand recalled.
His colleagues and friends described him meek and courteous. Prior to his posting in Buxar, he had served as deputy development commissioner of Katihar and sub-divisional officer in Begusarai.