KOCHI: A 69-year-old throat cancer patient consumed poison at the Provident Fund (PF) Office in Kochi on Tuesday after Rs 80,000 in his PF account was kept on hold for the past six years. Sivaraman, a resident of Perambra near Chalakuddy in Thrissur district, was rushed to the hospital but his life could not be saved. He died early on Wednesday, the police said.
According to his son, Ratheesh, Sivaraman submitted his PF-related documents to its office at Kaloor after having retired as a contract worker from Apollo Tyres, Perambra, in 2018.
“The papers were not cleared because of issues with his date of birth given in the Aadhaar card. To verify the date of birth, he was asked to submit his school leaving certificate as proof to get the Rs 80,000 in his PF account released. My father completed his school education in the early 1960s and the certificate was unavailable with the school records. But the PF employees insisted on the school leaving certificate,” Ratheesh told reporters. Sivaraman visited the PF office frequently to resolve the issue but without success.
“He reached the PF office around 1.15pm on Tuesday. In a toilet there, he consumed the poison he had brought in a bottle. The employees at the office rushed him to the Ernakulam General Hospital. As his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to Aster Medcity by night. He breathed his last around 5am on Wednesday,” an officer with the Ernakulam North police station said. The police have recovered a suicide note from Sivaraman’s pocket, which names several PF office employees. Ratheesh said his father was depressed after his request to release his PF was repeatedly rejected by the officials.
“They were giving lame excuses. He was diagnosed with throat cancer two years ago. The medical expenses brought financial constraints and he was desperate to get the money. We hope the police will register a case against those employees. Else, we will approach the court,” he said.
The Ernakulam North police have registered a case for unnatural death. “His relatives have cited apathy on the part of the officials at the PF office as the reason for his death. We will check whether his PF was deliberately held back. If that is the case, the employees responsible will be booked,” the police officer said.