A suicide note purportedly left behind by Dilip Dhavale, a farmer from Kasbe Tadwale village in Osmanabad, has named Omprakash Raje Nimbalkar, the Shiv Sena candidate from the Osmanabad Lok Sabha seat.
Dhavale (59) committed suicide by hanging himself on Friday morning.
Of the two separate notes reportedly found on Dhavale, one was addressed to the inspector of Dokhi police station and the other was addressed to "voters".
In the second note, the farmer accused Nimbalkar and Vijay Dandnaik, the chairman of the Vasantdada Cooperative Bank, for allegedly mortgaging his land and availing a loan for the now-defunct Terna Cooperative Sugar Mill. Dhavale's note stated that his land was put on auction thrice after the mill failed to repay the loan on time. Dhavale claimed he had taken the extreme step due to the humiliation and a drought in the region.
The Terna Shetkari Cooperative Sugar Mill was the largest mill in Marathwada region. Currently, under the control of the Osmanabad District Central Cooperative Bank, the mill has been the focal point of politics in the region.
In a separate note found on the farmer, Dhavale had stated that 72 farmers had mortgaged their land to raise funds to restart the mill. However, the then board of directors of the mill had failed to honour their security and the farmers stood to lose their land. According to the note, nearly 20 farmers had travelled to Mumbai to meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray who did not meet them.
Assistant Sub-Inspector D N Chavan of Dhoki police station confirmed that the notes were found on the farmer and said police were investigating the case.
The NCP and Shiv Sena are locked in an intense battle in the Osmanabad seat as Raje Nimbalkar is set to take on NCP's Ranajagjitsinh Patil. The two candidates are related to each other and have been political rivals for many years. Ranajagjitsinh's father Dr Padmasinh Patil was the MP from the seat in 2009 but had subsequently lost the seat to Shiv Sena leader Ravindra Gaikwad. Padmasinh was named as an accused in the murder of Pawanraje, father of Sena candidate Raje Nimbalkar.
When contacted by The Indian Express, Raje Nimbalkar said Dhavale, along with others, had worked as a labour contractor for the supply of cane harvesting labourers in the season of 2010-11. Back then, the mill had recommended them for availing of Rs 3 lakh as loan from the bank. "We had repaid the amount to the bank but the bank management, instead of adjusting with the inpidual accounts, had adjusted the same into the accounts of others. We have complained about this before various consumer forums as well as the High Court," he said.
The former MLA said it was the bank which was at fault in this case.