There’s Nothing That Suggests Abetment: Cops

Navi Mumbai:

Seven months ago, champion powerlifter duo from Raigad’s Mangaon taluka, Jyotika Patekar (49) and her daughter Vaibhavi (19), were on cloud nine as Vaibhavi had won a silver medal at the statelevel competition in Nagpur.

Today, Jyotika is a shattered woman who has also stopped her own powerlifting practice sessions. Her daughter committed suicide by drowning in a local pond at Goregaon in Mangaon taluka recently as she was reportedly upset that her college did not promote her after she failed in four subjects in FYBA.

The mother has now demanded a CID inquiry into Vaibhavi’s suicide. “I strongly feel her college principal’s insensitive behavior led to her death,” Jyotika alleged.

In January 2017, TOI had written about this unique mother-daughter combine that was locally famous as the ‘Dangal Team’ after the 2016 Bollywood film.

Jyotika said that on August 9 this year, she had gone with Vaibhavi to the office of principal P V Pimplapure of Doshi Vakil Arts College and G.C.U.B. Science and Commerce College in Goregaon to request him to allow Vaibhavi to go to the next class. “But the principal gave us the example of another girl student who had threatened to commit suicide if she was declared as ‘failed’. This remark had a deep impact on my daughter who started clutching my arm. I replied to Pimplapure that we were not there to threaten him, but only to request the college to allow Vaibhavi to keep terms while she moves on to second-year degree college,” the mother recalled.

She pacified Vaibhavi, she said, and told her not to worry about her poor academic results and to continue being positive and pursue both sports and studies. “She would nod her head and smile at me and her siblings. But on the night of August 27, she walked out of the house quietly and drowned herself in the pond nearby. She left behind an SMS with her friend that she was ‘going’ as she was not good at academics or sports. Her body was found by police after 24 hours at the pond,” Jyotika said.

Principal Pimplapure denied making any insensitive remarks to Vaibhavi or her mother. He told TOI: “A few days before her suicide, Vaibhavi and her mother did come to meet me in college. But I only told them that since she had failed in four subjects, she could not be promoted as per university rules. I did not mention any other girl candidate’s case of threatening to commit suicide. I was not rude to them.”

Officials at Goregaon police station told TOI that at present, they have lodged an ADR (accidental death report) in Vaibhavi’s death. “During our inquiry, the principal denied being rude to Vaibhavi and her mother. We did not find anything that suggested abetment. The college was merely following university rules,” said investigating officer, ASI RD Dhobale. But Jyotika, who stuck to her version of the meeting, said she would fight for justice. “My daughter had a promising sports career ahead. I want a CID probe as I do not want any other student to suffer,” she said.