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04 December 2023

Dubai family suicide: Ex-boss grilled, released

The family (Supplied)

By VM Sathish

The former boss of Rijesh -- who visited him last on Friday night/Saturday morning and was probably the last person outside Rijesh's family to see him before he ended his life on Saturday -- has been questioned and released on bail by Dubai Police, but with travel restrictions.

As part of the investigations into the death of Rijesh Nambiar, an Indian executive and his six-year-old daughter, Avanthika, Bur Dubai Police called the ex-boss who was in New Delhi.

On arrival he was questioned and released, but his passport has been detained.

Another associate of the businessman, who accompanied him to the Bur Dubai family's apartment, was also been questioned and released with similar travel restrictions.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, PN said he has been working with Rijesh since 1998. He said he is still not clear why his name was put in the suicide note by Rijesh, whom he considered a good friend and brother.

“I have been in a terrific mental depression after hearing about the death of Rijesh and his daughter. I met him first in 1998. He came to Dubai in search of a job and I helped him because he did not have a full time job for quite some time. We worked together in a company, but after the European boss absconded leaving the company in a mess, I gave him part time assignments in my projects,” said the ex-boss.

"For some time Rijesh worked without a salary. He was very happy to get a job with Dh12,000 salary per month and other benefits.

“His death came as a shock to me. It is a great loss to me. He was a very good  person. I don’t know why he did this to himself,” said PN.

"As a person, Rijesh was close to me. For six months - until August 2011, he was working part time in my company,” he added.

PN has been engaged in project and consultancy work for leading hotels, resorts, jewellers and other high-end properties in the UAE and India. His family is based in the US, but his wife and daughter were in Dubai till January 8, 2012.

He has denied having any role in triggering the family suicide in which two family members died and the wife survived. In his two suicide notes in English and Malayalam, Rijesh had named his former boss for some problems that haunted him.

The Time-line

Explaining the sequence of events on the last day of Rijesh's life, PN said he did not have major issues with Rijesh and family on Friday night.

"Rijesh called me around 9.45pm (Friday) and asked me to come and take two cheques in lieu of a loan that he had taken earlier. When he called me, I was attending a function and was  preparing to go to New Delhi.

"When I finished the programme, I called him back at around 11pm and said I will meet him after I came back from New Delhi. I told him to bring the laptop too because I had to transfer some data and useful documents from it. I did not take away the laptop forcefully.

"According to police, I was the last person to call Rijesh and meet him on Friday night,” he said.

“I did not step inside his house. I went in my vehicle with another friend, N, and we parked the vehicle outside. Rijesh came down from his flat with his wife Sreesha and daughter Avanthika. We were sitting together in my vehicle and discussing some issues. He handed over two cheques worth Dh12,000 dated January 13, 2012 and January 30th 2012.”

For more than a month I could not talk to him as he was always busy with his new job and he could not attend the mobile phone during work at his new work place,” PN explained.

“He was very happy to get a new good job, but he promised to continue supporting me with the part-time accounts work. During his last vacation, he went to all the temples and was very happy with the new job. After he joined the new company, I felt he was trying to keep a slight distance from me. We had a very good and genuine friendship.

“I don’t have any black marks in my long career in Dubai. I am here from 1991 and we had a very good personal relation. I am still confused as to why he dragged my name in his suicide note,” the ex-boss said adding that it is true that he met him with a friend on Friday night just before departing to New Delhi as part of a consultancy work for a leading jewellery chain from India and the Middle East.

“From Bur Dubai, I went back home (Al Diyafa area), kept the cheques and laptop there and I was picked up at 2.10am for the Emirates flight. I took the flight to New Delhi from Dubai at 4.40am and landed in New Delhi. I returned on Saturday and from the airport I went directly to the police station. They questioned me one day and released me after I submited my passport. N, another person who was with me  during the last meeting with Rijesh was also summoned to the police station and his passport is also detained," said PN.

"Rijesh was working without a regular salary and took a loan of Dh15,000 (Dh10,000 was taken a year ago and Dh5,000 in August 2011) and when he got a new job, I told him to start paying back the money.

"I was really shocked to get a call from Bur Dubai Police on Saturday while I was in New Delhi. I was almost half dead to hear about Rijesh's suicide,” he said

He was contacted because his name was mentioned in the suicide note and he was the last person to meet Rijesh and family and the last person to contact him on his mobile phone.

“That night, I told him he had a nice personality and don’t lose it. I told him that if there is any confusion, we will continue to talk after I come back. I just asked him whether I did anything wrong to him or whether he had cheated me in any manner.

"It seems he wanted to say something to me and I left on the assumption that he would talk to him again on Sunday after my return.”

PN said Rijesh handed over the laptop, which belonged to his company, and he promised to return it after transferring some project templates and other data. There was no commercially sensitive data in the laptop and it is now lying in my office.

Rijesh was found dead hanging from the ceiling fan and his daughter was also dead. His wife was found in a semi-conscious state with wounds on her right wrist and neck.

Dubai Police confirmed that it is a case of suicide.