The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday quashed the First Information Report (FIR) against nine persons for the death by suicide of Member of Parliament from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mohan Delkar in February 2021. Dadra Nagar Haveli Union Territory Administrator Praful Khoda Patel was one of the nine accused.
A division bench of justices Prasanna Varale and Shrikant Kulkarni on Thursday held that it was fit to quash the FIR based on the accused’s pleas that they were falsely implicated in Delkar’s death. The high court observed that it was to “prevent abuse of law”.
Delkar, 58, a seven-term MP from the Union territory was found dead in a hotel at Marine Drive on February 22 last year. A 15-page suicide note written on his official letterhead was recovered from his room. His son, Abhinav, filed a complaint against nine persons – including the collector, administrator and deputy collector of Dadra and Nagar Haveli – accusing them of pressurising his father on matters pertaining to a pharmaceutical college of which he was a trustee, and of trying to prevent Delkar from contesting the 2024 general election.
The FIR dated March 9, 2021, was filed with the Marine Drive police station under section 306 (abetment to suicide), 506 (criminal intimidation), 389 (putting a person in fear of accusation of offence in order to commit extortion) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) and under provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Patel and eight others were booked by the Mumbai police in March 2021 for allegedly abetting the suicide and criminal intimidation of Delkar.
The nine accused—including Patel, collector Sandeep Kumar Singh, deputy collector Apurva Sharma and Law secretary Rohan Yadav, as well as three police officials including Superintendent of Police Sharad Darade, talathi Dilip Patel, and a resident named Fatehsinh Chauhan—had moved the high court last year seeking for the FIR to be quashed.
Delkar’s death raised a political maelstrom in the state with the then home minister Anil Deshmukh ordering a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe. The Congress party, which was part of the ruling coalition in power, demanded a probe into the alleged role of the BJP in his death.In the Lok Sabha, NCP MP Supriya Sule demanded a probe by the committee on privileges of the Parliament into the allegations made by Delkar in his last speech in September 2020, regarding impediments that MPs faced in discharging duties. Several political parties, including the Congress, Shiv Sena, SP, DMK, BSP and Trinamool Congress signed a memorandum seeking such a probe and submitted it to the speaker, Om Birla.