As the days pass after Pratyusha Banerjee of television series Balika Vadhu fame was found hanging in her apartment, the things are getting murkier with Police arresting her boyfriend, Rahul Raj Singh and parents from both sides slinging mud on each other.
Pratyusha’s boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh, was detained by the Bangur Nagar police at around 5 pm on Saturday but was eventually released at the time of press conference.
Meanwhile, Rahul’s father Harshavardhan Singh alias Pandit Singh, flew from Ranchi to Mumbai after learning about Pratyusha’s death. He informed the media and officials that that around two months ago when the family was celebrating the birth of Rahul’s younger brother’s daughter, Rahul and Pratyusha visited the family. “Rahul introduced her to our family. Later, we matched their kundalis and gave a go-ahead for their marriage,” said Mr Singh.
Pandit Singh claims that he question Pratyusha about the absence of her parents that Pandit Singh why she had come by herself and not with her parents to talk about their marriage plans. “She said that her parents had taken away her money and that she was not going to inform them for the time being,” said Mr Singh. Mr. Singh also added that Pratyusha was being helped by Rahul financially and was in deep trauma since her death.
Rahul was detained for questioning by Bangur Nagar police immediately following the actress’ post-mortem on Saturday. Police has also recorded the statements of Pratyusha’s mother, father and other relatives. Though initial media reported that Pratyusha’s mother accused Rahul as the reason for her daughter’s death, according to police sources who recorded as many as seven statements stated that her parents did not say anything against Rahul, and refused any possibility of foul play in their daughter’s death.
One of the senior police officer informed media that Pratyusha’s HP samples were sent to JJ Hospital while her viscera and other samples were sent to FSL, Kalina, for testing. “There were no injuries or wounds on her; we just found ligature marks on both sides of her neck,” the source said, adding that the actress had a tattoo on her back with Rahul’s name inscribed.
Police souces also stated that the provisional cause of the actress’ death is asphyxia as indicated by the ligature marks on her neck, but the final cause of her death will be known only after getting all test reports. Another senior police official informed media that no financial transaction papers were found. “We are trying to find out the reason why she took such an extreme step,” he said.
Speaking to media Niraj Gupta, Rahul’s lawyer, said, “I had a word with Rahul and he is innocent. He never had any big fight with Pratyusha, so he should not be declared the culprit. Let the police investigate and see if any evidence is found against Rahul. He has nothing to do with Pratyusha’s suicide.”
Although, Pratyusha’s parents maintained silence regarding Rahul and Pratyusha’s relationship, her friends and neighbors revealed that the couple used to fight regularly. When this newspaper visited the couple’s housing society, her neighbor and television actor Anuj Sachdev said, “At about 12pm when I was standing next to her flat, waiting for the lift, I heard her crying. However, as I am not very familiar with her, I felt it was not right to interfere in their personal matter. I don’t know about any fight but they never looked like a happy couple.”
Another resident added that the couple has just fought just two days ago. It was one of their worst fights when Rahul banged Pratyusha’s head on the mirror. Earlier, about two months ago, the couple had one of their worst fights when Rahul’s ex-girlfriend barged into their house.
Sources told this newspaper that even the society guards knew about the couple’s fights that often inconvenienced other residents to the extent that the society secretary had directed the landlord to order the couple to vacate the house. One of the security guards, requesting anonymity, said that Pratyusha used to often appear upset while Rahul appeared angry.
Despite these reports, Rahul maintained to media that they were happy together. We never had any serious fight. We were happy and planning to get married soon. I used to love her so much and I don’t know why she took such a step. She was upset about her career but I tried to calm her down every time. This time too, I tried to save her but in vain,” he said.
According to official reports which documented the chain of events, Rahul first stepped out of the couple’s house at around 1.30pm on Friday and returned at about 2pm. Upon knocking on the door of the house, Pratyusha did not open it. A worried Rahul stepped out again to get a duplicate key maker and re-entered the building at 2.30pm along with the chabi-wallah who then made the duplicate key but did not succeed in opening the door. In the meantime, a cook of the neighbouring flat reached there and told Rahul that he would enter the couple’s house from behind. Upon entering their house, the cook found Pratyusha hanging. In his statement to the police, the cook said that when Rahul tried to pull down Pratyusha, he failed, after which, he took the chabi-wallah’s help to cut the rope from which she was hanging.
Police report also states that on entering the couple’s apartment, they found liquor bottles, cigarette stains on the couch, food packets and two mobiles – one black and one white.
It has been confirmed by other sources that Pratyusha had drinking problem and Rahul was upset about it which led to repeated fights between them. It is learnt that Rahul was a divorcee but Pratyusha never had any problem with that.
When questioned about the motive of police in detaining Rahul, a senior official informed that he ran away after taking Pratyusha to the hospital and on the advice of his lawyer kept his phone switched off.
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