Rahul tests negative for narcotics: hospital

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DRAMATIC SURRENDER: Sahil Zaroo surrenders before the police in Srinagar on Saturday. The surrender was telecast live on television.
DRAMATIC SURRENDER: Sahil Zaroo surrenders before the police in Srinagar on Saturday. The surrender was telecast live on television.

Staff Reporter

His condition improves; fourth man Sahil Zaroo arrested in Srinagar, says he had no hand in procuring drugs

A new drug could have been consumed, say hospital authoritiesSahil says he is the victim of a conspiracyMy client is being framed: Sahil's lawyerGopinath Munde suspects poisoning

NEW DELHI: In a new twist to the Rahul Mahajan episode, Apollo Hospital authorities on Saturday said the son of the slain Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Pramod Mahajan, did not test positive for any narcotic drug in a toxic screen carried out on him.

Rahul Mahajan was hospitalised in a critical condition and Pramod Mahajan's personal secretary Bibek Moitra died under mysterious circumstances early on Friday.

In a related development, Sahil Zaroo, who allegedly took three young men Rahul, Karan and Tishay to Pramod Mahajan's 7 Safdarjung Road residence here on Thursday night, was arrested in Srinagar on Saturday. A Delhi police team has left for Srinagar to bring him to the capital.

At a press conference here, Apollo Hospital Director Anupam Sibal said a series of tests was conducted on Rahul Mahajan after he was admitted on Friday morning. "He was tested for 14 different drugs like cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. The results turned out to be negative,'' he said, adding the tests pertained to known drug forms. He, however, did not deny the possibility of a new drug having been consumed.

Taken off ventilator

"I cannot comment on what was ingested or what triggered his ill health,'' said Dr. Sibal. "The tests for `stomach fluids' [poisoning] are done not by us, but by the forensic laboratory.'' He said Mr. Mahajan's condition had gradually improved over the past 12 hours. "After due assessment of his clinical status and investigations, our team of doctors found his vital parameters improving. He has been weaned off the ventilator and is under close observation in the Intensive Care Unit."

It has come to light that Sahil was taken to Spring Meadows in his car by his friends after they left 7 Safdarjung Road in the early hours of Friday. He was treated for convulsions and discharged. He left behind a fictitious address.

Sahil's father picked up

Earlier, the Special Cell of the Delhi police picked up Sahil's father Ghulam Mohammad for questioning. He told the police that Sahil was an undergraduate student in a Mumbai college and that he shuttled between Mumbai and Delhi. Mohammad runs a carpet and shawl business and has outlets in Kolkata and Mumbai, apart from a five-star hotel in South-West Delhi.

The police are corroborating the statements made by Rahul, Karan and Tishay. After they surrendered at the Mandir Marg station on Friday night, they told the police that Sahil brought cocaine at the instance of Moitra. They told the NDTV news channel on Friday that Rahul Mahajan and Moitra snorted cocaine, after which their condition deteriorated.

Investigations reveal that Rahul is a software engineer with a prominent multinational, Karan belongs to a business family and Tishay is a college dropout. All three are residents of Greater Kailash.

On the basis of evidence gathered, the police have registered a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and for destruction of evidence. No one has been named in the case so far.

The police have also picked up a man of African origin on suspicion of having supplied cocaine to Sahil.

Meanwhile, the body of Moitra was handed over to his relatives after post-mortem examination and it will be flown to Mumbai. Sources said the initial post-mortem report did not specify the exact cause of his death but indicated traces of alcohol in the body. The police are awaiting the viscera report.

Sahil claims he's innocent

Shujaat Bukhari reports from Srinagar: Sahil, who was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police here telecast live from a TV channel studio, said he was innocent and was the "victim of a conspiracy."

Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba told The Hindu , that Sahil was arrested from the studio of a TV channel. "We had information that he was in Srinagar and once he appeared on the TV channel from its Srinagar studio, we went there and arrested him." Mr. Mujtaba said that there was no news that he would surrender, "though there were feelers."Earlier a police team raided Sahil's house in the posh Nagin area of the city, but arrested nobody.

As mediapersons rushed from one police station to another, Sahil, along with his lawyer Aslam Goni, appeared on Aaj Tak from its Srinagar studio. Soon TV crews and reporters crowded the studio. Sahil denied that he had any hand in procuring the drug. "I do not know why the blame is being shifted to me," he told this reporter, while being arrested.

"I do not know Rahul"

He admitted that he knew Bibek Moitra, but denied that he knew Rahul Mahajan. "The only thing I know is that I am not involved in any conspiracy ... I have been a victim of it. I was not feeling well when I tasted it ... I was unconscious and my friend had taken me to hospital. I had no idea where I was driven and whom I met. I was in a very bad condition ... " Sahil said he did not know Delhi roads, and that it was impossible for him to procure drugs. He said accusations were levelled against someone who was not well connected. "It is about a normal guy who goes to Delhi, meets a friend who called him. It wasn't me who killed him." Sahil pleaded that his father should be let off.His lawyer Aslam Goni said it was surprising that his father was arrested. "He is from a respected family. There is some allegation against Sahil. But how come his father is arrested?"

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