Mumbai,(The Hindu): A 45-year-old murder convict fell to his death from the fifth floor of the new building of the Mantralaya on Thursday evening. The Marine Drive police have initiated investigations to find out whether his death was an accident or a suicide.
Harshal Raote was a native of Paithan and had in 2003 been arrested for killing his sister-in-law. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was lodged in Paithan Central Jail.
Officials said Raote had recently been granted furlough, after which he came to Mumbai. “Raote was on furlough from January 10, and Thursday was the last day of his furlough,” said Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay, Additional Director General, Prisons.
At around 6:30 p.m., security personnel at the Mantralaya saw Raote lying in a pool of blood in the compound. He was taken to St. George Hospital near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, where he was declared dead before admission. The police found out that Raote was last seen on the fifth floor. “Inquiries so far have indicated that Raote had come to the Mantralaya to meet Home Department officials on extension of his furlough,” senior police inspector Vilas Gangawane, Marine Drive police station, said.
Sources said a letter was found in Raote’s pocket, in which he had written in Marathi that his family members had severed all ties with him since his arrest, and that he was slipping into depression. “We are verifying whether the letter was a suicide note or supposed to be submitted as an appeal to an official,” an officer with the Marine Drive police said. An accidental death report has been registered for now. The police will be speaking to the Mantralaya staff on duty on the fifth floor to find out whether anyone actually saw Raote either jump or fall over the balcony, which does not have railings.
In 2003, Raote had cheated his sister-in-law into paying him some money by promising to get her a well-paying job. When his lie was exposed, Raote, fearing that she would expose him in front of his family, stabbed her multiple times, killing her.
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