Role of creditors to be probed in Nitin Desai death case, will inquire if he was under stress: Fadnavis
Fadnavis was responding to BJP MLA Ashish Shelar's demand that the issue should not be treated just as a case of accidental death
A day after renowned art director Nitin Desai was found dead, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said the role a private lending firm, from which Desai had taken loan, would be probed to know whether he was charged high interest and if he was under stress.
Speaking in the state legislative assembly, Fadnavis who holds the home department, said legal aspects on how Desai's N D Studio at Karjat near Mumbai can be preserved or taken over by the government will be examined.
Desai, the creator of lavish sets for films such as "Jodhaa Akbar" and "Lagaan" as well as the popular TV quiz show "Kaun Banega Crorepati", was found hanging at his studio on Wednesday.
Desai's company ND's Art World Pvt Ltd had borrowed Rs 185 crore through two loans from ECL Finance in 2016 and 2018, and troubles with repayments started from January 2020.
Desai’s company had defaulted on a Rs 252-crore loan to its financial creditor, according to an insolvency petition filed in a bankruptcy court last week. ECL Finance is a leading NBFC, promoted by the Edelweiss Group.
Fadnavis was responding to BJP MLA Ashish Shelar's demand that the issue should not be treated just as a case of accidental death.
Through a point of order, Shelar demanded that Desai's death should not be treated just as a case of accidental death, but must be dealt with from a larger perspective.
Desai had made a name for himself in the field of art direction with his sheer talent and his accomplishments, the BJP MLA said.
"It is tragic that the winner of four National Awards had to end his life in this manner. He had taken a loan of Rs 180 crore for the N D Studio, which rose to Rs 252 crore. This brings forward the functioning of the lending system by Rashesh Shah and Edelweiss ARC company," Shelar alleged.
Hence, this case must not be investigated only as an accidental death but a special team must be deployed to investigate the interest rate levied, the rate at which this interest escalates every year, the recovery methods deployed by this company and many such issues, he added.
"Only then, will justice be done to Nitin Chandrakant Desai," he said.
He also said that he is aware of two more cases against this "modern-day money lender" and information about it will be submitted to the home minister.
Congress leader Ashok Chavan said the government should take over Desai's studio instead of allowing it to be auctioned.
"This would be a tribute to Nitin Desai," he said.
In response to the demands, Fadnavis assured a thorough probe into the case.
Describing Desai as the pride of Marathi people, Fadnavis said, "Apart from movies, he also prepared themes for political programmes, state's float for the Republic Day parade in Delhi and also contributed to beautification of ghats in Varanasi." "The probe into Desai death will inquire the role of creditors and whether he was under mental stress and being pressured," the deputy CM said.