Mumbai: While the country, and the tourism industry in particular, is trying to come to terms with losing one of its doyens in such an unfortunate manner, the probe into the suicide of Raj Travels owner Lalit Sheth has thrown up a few interesting posers. Cops are still trying to work out how and why did Sheth cover a distance of 2 km to reach Bandra-Worli Sea Link — from where he leapt to his death on Wednesday — after getting off his car at Worli Dairy.
This is the version of the deceased’s driver Ajit Jha, who, so far, appears to be the last person to have seen Sheth alive. “Jha had told us that Sheth got down at the Worli Dairy to make some calls. When he did not return and his son Akash could not reach him on the phone, the latter took a cab and reached the sea link and found the suicide note in the backseat of his father’s Volkswagen Vento. He then informed Worli police and later fishermen recovered Sheth’s body from the sea near Vetal temple,” said a police officer from Dadar.
Cops suspect Jha is not telling the whole truth. “We will record his statement once again. We think he is afraid and is telling lies as the family had asked him to take care of Sheth, who had been under stress for some period of time,” confirmed Prakash Patil, senior inspector, Dadar police station. “Akash told us that the family had asked their loyal driver Jha to take care of Sheth who was tense over the last two months due to financial difficulties. Jha has been working with the family for the last 20 years,” said another police officer.
The post-mortem report says Sheth died due to drowning and had minor injuries on his forehead. The suicide note left behind by the deceased read, “Ending my life as failed to fulfil my commitments for which I am solely and alone responsible.”
In plain words
“Akash has identified the writing and signature of Sheth,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police, Zone V. Police have learnt that Sheth was in huge debts and his son Akash has told them that in 2010 he had incurred major losses because of his bus services. “Sheth was using a Volkswagen Vento when his counterparts are driving more luxurious cars like BMW, Mercedes or Audi. His son came to the sea link by a taxi,” said a police officer from Dadar.
Sheth is survived by his wife Rekha, son Akash, and daughter Shreya who got married some time ago.