The Maharashtra Congress said on Saturday that seven-time MP from Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mohan Delkar, had sought help several times from the Prime Minister as well as top BJP leaders, but he was allegedly ‘ignored’, forcing him to end his life.
Terming the Lok Sabha MP’s suicide as “a grave tragedy for Indian democracy”, state Congress spokesperson and general secretary Sachin Sawant said that the late Delkar had written a series of letters to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, appealing for assistance.
“It was after all a question of life and death of an MP. The PM and the HM could have rendered help to Delkar. But did they deliberately ignore him,” asked Sawant while addressing the media.
He pointed out that Delkar had said that he was being “persecuted and insulted” by the officials, probe agencies of the UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and its administrator Praful K. Patel, whose name also figures in the multi-page suicide note the MP had left behind.
Delkar was founded hanging at a hotel room in Mumbai on February 22, triggering a nationwide political furore.
“Delkar, a popular tribal leader, had submitted written complaints to both the PM and Shah about how the UT’s officials were trying to entangle him in crimes and misdoings with which he had no connection, and how cases in which charge-sheets were already filed were being reopened, threatening him, his family and supporters with dire consequences, including jail term,” said Sawant.
In at least two letters penned by Delkar on December 18, 2020 and January 31, 2021, he had sought an urgent appointment with the Prime Minister, and also with Shah.
He followed it up with three letters to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and another to a Parliamentary standing committee chairman Bhupender Yadav.
“On February 12, the Lok Sabha’s Committee on Privileges took up the hearing of Delkar’s grievances and complaints, where he informed them about the kind of pressures he was facing,” Sawant said.
The Congress leader said that Delkar had even reportedly mentioned that he had only two options left – “either to quit the Parliament or commit suicide”.
“We want an explanation form the Committee on Privileges as to whether Delkar indeed made such a statement before it, since just 10 days later he committed suicide. If the BJP government had taken immediate steps to resolve the issues, Delkar could have been saved,” said Sawant.
He further said that Delkar had lost faith in the BJP leadership and had mentioned his problems on different platforms, but he may have felt compelled to come to Mumbai and end his life here as he believed the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government would ensure him justice.
Top leaders of the MVA, comprising Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress, have made repeated pleas for giving justice to Delkar, whose widow and children had called on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in Mumbai last week.
“The BJP government in Gujarat could not trace the killers of its late Home Minister Haren Pandya in 2003. However, the MVA government will book the culprits responsible for Delkar’s suicide and ensure punishment for them,” Sawant said.
The state government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the circumstances leading to Delkar’s suicide and has also booked UT Administrator Praful Patel in an FIR lodged by the Mumbai Police.