Mumbai, Apr 29: Three days after the Mumbai crime branch began its probe into the Anil Ambani chopper sabotage case, key witness Bharat Borge, a technician with aircraft maintenance company Air Works, was found dead under mysterious circumstances on Tuesday morning.
The body of 43-year-old Borge, who first spotted the pebbles and gravel in the helicopter’s filter neck on April 23, was found on the tracks between Vile Parle and Santa Cruz railway stations. Borge served with the Army for 20 years till his retirement three years ago.
A note was found in Borge’s pocket which was addressed to the investigating officer of crime branch unit IX. The note, handwritten in Marathi, says, ‘‘My parents have brought me up with the right values and I would never get involved in any wrong activity. After you questioned me and left, Reliance officials visited me. They asked me some questions but I didn’t tell them anything. One of them took my number and said they would talk to me again the next day. I got scared that I would be ‘used’. I wanted to inform you about the meeting, but when I visited the crime branch office at night, I saw a person being beaten up and that scared me and I came back.
Your investigation is proceeding in the right direction and the truth will come out soon.’’
A senior officer in the crime branch claimed the police had almost zeroed in on the culprit, an employee with Air Works. But the motive was still not known.
A source at Cooper Hospital’s post-mortem centre (PMC), where the autopsy was conducted, said, ‘‘There is no way we can say whether it was suicide or foul play. Death is due to the impact of the train. We will send viscera and blood samples for testing to the Kalina Laboratory.’’
Railway police commissioner A K Sharma said it appeared a case of suicide. ‘‘Borge threw himself before a local train heading towards Churchgate,’’ he said. Additional DG railways, K P Raghuvanshi too termed it a case of suicide. The crime branch had recorded Borge’s statement on Saturday. According to joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria, Borge was a good witness.
Borge hit by train: Witnesses
Bharat Borge, a technician with aircraft maintenance company Air Works, who first spotted the pebbles and gravel in chopper of Anil Ambani was found dead under mysterious circumstances on Tuesday morning.The incident is said to have occurred at 7.53am near the level crossing close to Parle station.
"The gateman saw Borge crossing the tracks from the eastern to the western side and being hit by a train. He informed the station manager at Parle. Borge had sustained severe injuries to his head and hands. At the Cooper hospital, he was declared dead," senior inspector of Andheri GRP, NH Shaikh said. The gateman and the motorman were witnesses to the incident.
Sources at Cooper said cause of death had been listed as "haemorrhage and shock". Borge sustained injuries to his skull, hands and other parts of the body. A case of accidental death has been registered by the Andheri railway police. "Borge was identified on the basis of a photo identity card found on him. His family has been informed of his death," Shaikh added.
Borge joined Air Works three years ago after retiring from the Army. He is survived by his wife and three children (two sons, in classes 8 and 10, and a daughter, who’s just cleared junior college) and stays at Rai Gaon at Bhayander (West). On April 14, he sent his wife and kids to their hometown in Karad, near Aurangabad, for vacation.
Three days ago, he had phoned his brother, Ananda, at their hometown. "We spoke about the Anil Ambani chopper episode," Ananda told TOI. "Every morning, Borge used to leave for work at 7 am, and on Tuesday also, he must have left at the same time. The Air Works office is at Kalina so he must have alighted at Santa Cruz station. But I can’t understand why he walked towards the railway crossing."
A spokesperson for Air Works said Borge was one of their most valued members and had shown exemplary presence of mind in unearthing the attempt to sabotage a helicopter under maintenance contract. Air Works head Ravi Menon said, "Borge was very dedicated and committed. He was the first one to spot it and alert us."