Debts incurred from loans taken to run his Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) team led VB Chandrasekhar to commit suicide, police officials confirmed on Friday. The former cricketer was found hanging in his residence the previous evening. He will be cremated on Saturday morning. There has been an outpouring of grief from the cricket fraternity following his death.
Although no suicide note was found in the house in Mylapore, police officers said after talking to family members, it emerged that the 57-year-old had been depressed for the last few days. They think it was caused by his inability to repay loans. In 2016, he had bought the Tiruvallur franchise in the TNPL for Rs 3.48 crore. Called VB Tiruvallur Veerans for two years, it came to be known as VB Kanchi Veerans.
"They tried to convince him (things would be alright), but he remained upset. On Thursday (evening) he asked his wife for tea. After that he went to his room where he allegedly locked the door and hung himself," said an investigating officer. His wife Sowmya raised an alarm after she saw that he had not come out of the room for two hours. Neighbours gathered and on breaking the door open, they found Chandrasekhar hanging from the ceiling fan.
On Thursday, the family was about to visit the temple, but cancelled the plan after Chandrasekhar said he was not feeling well. He had also pulled out of the TV commentary team for the TNPL final, which was played at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday.
It has been learnt that mounting debts were playing on his mind and eventually pushed him to the fatal step. According to sources, the annual franchise fee for TNPL teams is Rs 3.4 crore. Plus, the VB Kanchi Veerans had an annual operational cost of Rs 1 crore. Preliminary investigations reveal that after taking loans from various banks to run his cricket team, Chandrasekhar was struggling to repay them.
Chandradekhar was the only non-businessman team owner in the TNPL. The other teams are owned by established companies like Lyca Productions, Kothari International Limited, Take Solutions and Chettinad Apparels Private Limited. Chandrasekhar's team has been among the underachievers in the competition, finishing sixth, fifth and seventh in the eight-team league in the first three years before losing in the last-four stage this year.
The police had taken the body in custody and opened a case of suspicious death. The body was handed over to the family after post-mortem. Chandrasekhar has two daughters, aged 24 and 21. Hundreds gathered in the house on Friday evening to pay tributes, including Rahul Dravid. A former national selector, TV commentator and fondly called VB, he was a widely liked figure in cricket circles.