Kannur: Amid the mourning in the family of entrepreneur Sajen Parayil, who committed suicide last month over official apathy of the Anthoor municipality in Kerala's Kannur district, the bereaved have to put up with a smear campaign against them likely by the supporters of Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into Sajen’s death, his wife Beena and two children asserted that they did not trust the police probe anymore, and alleged that the cops had been leaking information to the media.
"I have only some life left in me. They are even trying to snatch that away. If they continue to carry on with the smear campaign, I would be forced to follow in Sajen's steps," his wife said.
The 49-year-old businessman had hanged himself at his home on June 18, after the CPM-ruled municipality refused to grant permission for his convention centre.
The family met the media on Saturday after reports in the CPM mouthpiece claimed that Sajen ended his life over family problems. Such reports were also circulated via cyber groups of the ruling party in Kerala.
"Certain people had approached me to change my allegations against Anthoor municipal chairperson P K Shyamala. They asked me to say that those allegations were made in that particular state of mind (amid Sajen's death). However, when I refused to change my stance, such reports started coming. First, they put up reports to defame Sajen. When these failed, they started to malign my reputation. They are trying to finish off a family that has already been pushed to the brink after Sajen's death," Beena said.
(Shyamala, who is the wife of CPM central committee member M V Govindan, was reportedly against granting nod to the convention centre Sajen had built at a CPM stronghold in Anthoor.)
"We do not believe those who pushed Sajen to take the extreme step are going to back off now. We know that more smear campaigns would be started. However, we find it hard to believe that the party in which Sajen had such strong belief is behind all these. I will not be bogged down. At least the children's reputation has to be safeguarded. We will file defamation case against the media platforms that put out such reports. We are considering to approach the High Court to seek a CBI probe," she further said.
"I only wanted to live peacefully after getting the permission for the convention centre. That's why I did not react to several of the reports initially. However, now I have decided to fight," she said.
The report in the party mouthpiece said that a person called Mansoor had made 2,400 calls to a family phone over a couple of months and a scuffle over this forced Sajen to kill self. However, Sajen's kin said that everyone in his family were closely acquainted with Mansoor, a driver, and that he had spoken to them over the phone several times. There was no need to hide this, the family members stated.
Beena said that Sajen was not a person who would end his life over his wife's friendship with anyone. People who know Sajen would agree with me on this, she added.
Sajen's daughter also dismissed reports that she had given statement to the police that there was a scuffle in the house over a video call made to her mother's phone on the eve of Sajen's suicide.
Clarifying on this Beena said, "No statement has been given to the police that hints there was a family feud. My daughter has not given any such statement. Instead her statement said that there were no problems within the family."
Sajen's son also said that he had also spoken to driver Mansoor from his mother's phone that night. "Reports that my sister had given such a statement are also false," he said.
"Driver Mansoor, against whom allegations were raised by the police, is a close friend of my son. They talk for hours from my mobile phone. They play online games and are on the phone till the morning," Beena added.
"I have been forced to speak out as I cannot suffer this smear campaign any longer," she said.
Family friend questioned
After it was found that several calls were made to a phone connection in the name of Sajen, Mansoor was questioned by the police. His phone was also seized. A SIM card taken in Sajen's name was used by all his family members.
The police said that Mansoor was not made an accused as there was no evidence to prove that he had forced Sajen to take the extreme step.
Family flays police conduct
The police team, probing the death of the businessman, is reportedly not considering as evidence the allegations made by the family against the Anthoor municipal officials and the note written by a heartbroken Sajen after he was denied permit for the convention centre.
This and the overall police conduct forced Sajen's family to raise serious allegations against the ongoing probe. Instead of focussing on the allegations against Shyamala and other municipal authorities, the probe was reduced to a move to tarnish us, they claimed.
"The police weaved a story that Sajen had committed suicide after he chanced upon a phone conversation with driver Mansoor. We have lived in several countries over a span of 20 years. Both of us know of the various friendships of the other. Therefore, he would not commit suicide just because he accidentally came across his wife's friendship with someone. If he thinks that there was something wrong in my actions, he would only try to correct me. The relationship between us is such that. You can ask about this to anyone in the family," Beena said.
The family members even cited Minister E P Jayarajan's statement over unfair police conduct.
"Minister E P Jayarajan had made a statement in the Kerala Assembly on July 1 which mirrored a report on the police probe that appeared on the party mouthpiece the other day. How can the minister know that the police probe would move in a certain direction after two weeks?" the family sought to know.
Minister E P Jayarajan had said in assembly, "The opposition would be saddened when the probe into the businessman's death is concluded."
P T Thomas, a Congress MLA, had then said that making such statements at the beginning of the probe itself gave a clear indication on where the probe was heading to.
The family further alleged that they got information that some cops were trying to leak these reports to media for the past one week. "This forced us to suspect of a higher-level conspiracy. That's why we are seeking a CBI probe," the family said.
Where is the probe heading to?
The police team plans to end the probe after recording some more statements that would justify the allegations of family problems, it is learned. Sources also said though Sajen was distressed over not getting municipal permission for the building, the police probe is likely heading to prove that family problems had forced him to commit suicide.
The police had found a note penned by Sajen in which he narrated the hardships he had to face as an entrepreneur.
"At least my next generation should not have such a fate," he had written.
Still, the police are hesitant to file a case on abetment of suicide against the municipal authorities, it is said.