Accidental fall behind Gajendra’s death?

Police in the process of identifying eyewitnesses are seeking video footage from different angles to get more clarity;AAP volunteers, leaders who allegedly attempted to block a police van carrying Singh to the hospital under scanner

Updated - April 02, 2016 06:20 pm IST

Published - April 24, 2015 12:00 am IST

Investigators probing the death of Gajendra Singh, a Rajasthan-based farmer who allegedly hung himself from a tree at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rally here on Wednesday, are looking at “accidental fall” leading to death due to asphyxiation as “a significant possibility”, highly placed sources in the Delhi Police crime branch said.

The investigators are also understood to have begun the exercise of identifying the AAP volunteers who attempted to block the path of a police van carrying Singh to hospital from the rally venue. Their arrests, an officer said, would follow over the coming days; the role of senior AAP leaders is also being examined.

According to a source, even as asphyxia had been ascertained as the reason behind Singh’s death, an initial medical report pertaining to a cursory examination of Singh's body soon after the incident and camera footage of the rally, recorded as per official videography procedures, have revealed injury marks behind both his legs and forearms, his upper and middle back and the lower region of his neck.

These injuries, a senior police officer told The Hindu , seem to have been caused before the fatal wound on Singh’s neck — caused due to hanging from a white stole ( gamchha ) — and imply with more certainty “the likelihood of an accidental slip” than that of “deliberately jumping to end one’s life”. “Though we are still in the process of identifying eyewitnesses and are seeking Singh's video footage from different angles to get more clarity on the event preceding his death, the evidence, so far, seems to suggest that he fell,” said a police officer.

According to the source, Singh had, soon after ascending the vantage point, tied his chest to the trunk with the same white stole for balance.

A few minutes later, the source said, Singh pulled the stole up to his neck and then “hung himself” from the tree. What prompted him to do so – whether it was the incitement from the crowd or an attempt to seek attention having gone fatally wrong — is a subject matter of investigation.

“The entirety of the case depends on whether he was coaxed or challenged into jumping or whether he slipped in the process of putting up show,” the officer added.

The handwriting mystery

A day after the incident, the crime branch was still struggling to ascertain the veracity of the suicide note allegedly written by Gajendra Singh and thrown at the spot before his death. A crime branch team despatched to Singh's village in Dausa district of Rajasthan has been told that the handwriting on the purported suicide note “is not his”.

“We have taken a few samples of his handwriting from the family and these are being brought to the Capital for analysis by experts. His call records are also being analysed to see whether he was in touch with anyone from the AAP,” said an officer.

“There is enough evidence to investigate the role of senior leaders who can be seen addressing Singh directly from the dais in our video footage of the event as well as in the news clips available in the public domain. Some AAP volunteers are seen jeering at him (Singh) and inciting him from the enclosure directly below the stage,” said a police officer.

“We are in the process of establishing whether any AAP leader's statements directed at Singh or to the crowd can be interpreted as incitement to establish culpability under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to abetment to suicide,” the officer said.

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