The mysterious death of Mumbai musician Karan Joseph

DailyBiteSep 14, 2017 | 20:15

The mysterious death of Mumbai musician Karan Joseph

A probe into the death of 29-year-old Karan Joseph, a keyboard virtuoso from Mumbai who allegedly killed himself on September 9, has left a trail of unanswered questions.

According to reports, Joseph — also known as Madfingers — allegedly committed suicide by jumping off from the twelfth floor of the apartment he was living in.

According to Rolling Stone India, Joseph was a Berklee College of Music graduate and played a host of styles, ranging from jazz, funk, rock to blues, with great skill and versatility. Joseph was a popular face in the Indie music circuit of Mumbai. Asian Age quotes a friend of Joseph as saying: “A happy person. It was very unlikely of him to end his life in such a sudden way. He was a bright pianist, and would often say music is his life.”

So why would a happy and successful musician take his life?

Karan Joseph, according to The Quint, was a Bangalore-based musician who had moved to Mumbai a month ago with Rishi Shah, the CEO of Crossbones Media that publishes Rave, a magazine featuring musicians.

According to a report in The Times of India, a police probe into the alleged suicide has revealed shocking new details. A woman who lives on the floor below Joseph’s residence told police: "This was on the afternoon of September 5. I suddenly heard a lot of crying and screaming. I rushed to my bedroom window from where I looked up to the 12th floor balcony and saw this thin bald boy. I couldn't see his face clearly because his head hung low. There was a chain-like plastic wire — the kind you see on phone handsets — clipped to his belt. Seeing his position on the ledge I was afraid he could have fallen any moment.”

The witness, according to the report, alerted her husband and both rushed upstairs to Joseph's flat fearing an accident when Vidhi Shah, a friend of Rishi's answered the door and informed them that everything was fine.

As things stand, Rishi Shah is alleged to have played a role in Joseph’s death. According to Joseph’s friends, he faced mental torture, and emotional and physical abuse during his stay with Rishi, who, they allege got the musician addicted to drugs. “Rishi is nefarious to work with and mentally unbalanced. He is prone to bursts of anger, aggression and ego-centric behaviour,” a friend of Joseph told Mumbai Mirror.

Meanwhile, a Mid-Day report suggests that Joseph had messaged his friend Randolph on September 8, saying that he was in urgent need of help and that he was being beaten up. He did not, however, name the person who was beating him up.

karan_091417070242.jpgPhoto: Facebook

The police have registered a case of abetment to suicide. Rishi Shah, his friend Suzana and his domestic help Vinod were at home when Joseph allegedly committed suicide and, according to Shah, Joseph looked him in the eye as he jumped to his death.

Shah, in his statement to the police, said, “Karan arrived at my house around 7.30 am. My friend Suzana from Australia and I were home then; she was asleep. Around 8, she woke up and joined us. We were listening to music and chit-chatting. Karan told me that last night he was at a party at his friend Tej Brar's house, where Sohail and Varun and 10 to 15 other friends were present, and they all were upset with him (Karan). I told him to not take these things seriously and to enjoy the music. My domestic help got us juice then. Karan went and sat by the window with one leg hanging outside. And before I could think or even do anything, he jumped."

The police also took the statement of Vinod, Joseph's domestic help. According to Vinod, “On Saturday morning, Karan came home and was sitting on the couch with Rishi and his friend. I asked them if they wanted breakfast. But Rishi told me to get pomegranate juice and I did. Then I heard a sound like a door opening. When I turned to look, I saw Karan sitting on the window ledge with one leg outside, and then, he fell down."

Things have, incidentally, taken a turn for the worse for Shah. Aside from the police questioning, the managing committee of his apartment complex too has asked the owner of the 12th floor flat to terminate his lease agreement with Shah. They claim Shah has been a nuisance to the society ever since he moved in.

Last updated: September 14, 2017 | 20:43
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