A 35-year-old undertrial was found hanging near the toilet of the new barrack in Arthur Road Jail early on Wednesday. Jail sources claimed that he was depressed over family issues and had confided so to an inmate.
Sources said the deceased had been identified as Mohammed Hanif Mohammed Iqbal Shaikh, 35. “Shaikh was spotted hanging by another inmate from the barrack, who informed the authorities. He had reportedly tied a kerchief to the toilet window and had hanged himself using a blanket. The bathroom tap was kept running to give the impression that he was using the bathroom,” said a police officer from the prison.
Police said Shaikh had been arrested in a theft case by the JJ Marg police. “He was sent to jail custody and after a negative RT-PCR test report, he was quarantined on December 18, 2021. In the last week of December, he was shifted to Arthur Road Jail. He was then kept in the new barrack,” said the police officer.
N B Vayachal, Superintendent, Arthur Road Jail, has confirmed the incident. “All procedures were carried out in the presence of a magistrate, judge, tehsildar and local police,” Vayachal said.
The body has been sent for post mortem to J J Hospital in Mumbai.
Rajesh Kewale, senior police inspector, N M Joshi Marg police station said, “We have registered an accidental death report and are further investigating the matter,” said a police officer.
Sources from the prison department claimed Shaikh, an addict, was a history sheeter. “He was arrested twice and was lodged in Taloja Jail. As it was his third time, his family too avoided getting him out on bail. He told an inmate about being depressed, as his family didn’t come to meet him. Also, he was tense as his wife and kid went to live with his in-laws after his arrest. His father too had taken away the shop’s keys from him,” sources claimed.
Jail authorities said Shaikh’s brother was summoned to the jail and taken to the spot where Shaikh had died by suicide and the body brought down in his presence. His brother told police that Shaikh had been worried about his family and that may had led him to take the extreme step. “We thought he would change his ways behind bars but we never expected he would take this extreme step,” his brother said in a statement to police.
A similar incident had occurred in Arthur Road Jail almost three years ago.