The circumstances surrounding the alleged suicide of Pratyusha Banerjee, best-known for playing Anandi in the television show Balika Vadhu, have gotten murkier. On Friday, the 24-year-old actress was found hanging from a ceiling fan in suburban Mumbai and was declared dead after being rushed to Kokilaben Hospital by her boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh, a producer.
As per recent reports, Pratyusha’s parents have arrived in Mumbai from Jamshedpur while the police have detained Rahul, who reportedly absconded for a while before showing up to see her body on Saturday afternoon, and are questioning him.
People close to the couple describe Pratyusha’s relationship with Rahul as "deeply troubled". A friend of the duo, whom HuffPost India spoke to at length near the premises of Kokilaben Hospital, said that the duo had major fights over money.
“She would do certain events out of goodwill, but Rahul had a problem with this. He would interfere and ask for money on her behalf, leading to several arguments between them,” the common associate said, on condition of anonymity.
The associate further revealed that Pratyusha had a meltdown on December 29 when she found out that Singh was already married. “She had an appointment with a dermatologist where she learnt that the person she was planning a life with, was already married. They had a confrontation over this but Rahul assured her that he’s divorced his first wife. The incident led to some serious trust issues between them.”
HuffPost reached out to Rahul’s friends to confirm this and actor Arif Ali, a friend of the producer for over 5 years, corroborated Singh’s marriage. Speaking over the phone, he said, “He got married in Ranchi but the couple kept it low-key. We never spoke about his personal life and I don’t know when the couple separated but soon I was seeing him attend parties with Pratyusha,” Ali said.
A report on SpotboyE says that hours before her alleged suicide, Rahul slapped Pratyusha as the couple had a very public fight at Goregaon’s Carnival Cinema. The report also quotes a friend saying that Rahul would get violent, and there were times when the actress would sleepover at her friend’s house.
However, actress Sahila Chadha, who is a part of the Dispute Settlement Committee of Cine and Television Artiste’s Association, told HuffPost, “I’ve known Rahul for years and I can vouch for the fact that he can never raise a hand on a woman. We recently celebrated Holi with the couple and Rahul was beaming. He told us to keep ourselves free as he was getting married in the next few months. You think a guy who wanted to kill his girlfriend would say that?” a furious Sahila said, adding, “These Ajaz Khan and Dolly Bindra-types should be sued for defamtion and for passing insensitive remarks and tarnishing Rahul’s image,” she said referring to the comments about probable homicide made by Khan to the media.
Pratyusha’s body is currently in Goregaon’s Siddharth Hospital where an autopsy report is expected by evening. So far, the police haven’t made any official revelations but the autopsy will conclusively determine the possibility of foul play, if any.
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