‘IAF trainee cadet’s death was likely a suicide’ 

6 senior IAF officers booked for murder

September 26, 2022 08:12 pm | Updated 08:12 pm IST - Bengaluru

Preliminary investigation into the recent suspicious death of a 27-year-old former Under Trainee Flying Officer (UTFO) at Air Force Technical College, Jalahalli, indicate it is a case of suicide, police sources said. 

Ankit Kumar Jha was found dead on the campus on September 21, a day after he was removed from the college following a court of inquiry over alleged inappropriate behaviour.

The police also recovered a note, allegedly left behind by him, indicating suicide.

However, Mr. Ankit Kumar Jha’s brother Aman Jha, an Indian Navy officer, alleged murder and tampering of evidence against six high ranking IAF officials, prompting the Gangammana Gudi police to register a murder case against the officials.

The accused have been identified as Air Commodore Sameer Khalode, Group Captains G.L. Rao, Badrinath V., Wing Commanders Huddar S.S., Ankith Sharma, and college in-charge and woman officer Tahira Rahman.

A senior police official, overseeing the probe, said they had received the autopsy report, the findings of which prima facie indicated suicide.

“However, since it is contested and the family is alleging murder, we have sent his viscera samples to the Forensic Science Laboratory, which will medically establish the cause of death and will help us find out if there was any foul play,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, the police have also sent the note found at the scene of crime for forensic analysis to ascertain whether it was indeed written by Mr. Ankit Kumar Jha. 

Mr. Ankit Kumar Jha was terminated from the college owing to alleged “inappropriate behavior“ after the court of inquiry, on the fateful day. After the formalities, he was escorted by a guard to pack his bags from his room. While the guard went to use the washroom, he escaped and was later found hanging on the campus, said the police.

The IAF, in a statement on Sunday, termed the incident “unfortunate” and said they were cooperating with the police. The IAF also said: “A court of inquiry by the IAF is under way to establish the circumstances leading to the death of the UTFO”.

“His [Ankit Kumar Jha] training was terminated on September 20, 2022, after informing his father of the same. The termination of training was the result of recommendations by a court of inquiry, which was instituted following a complaint by a fellow woman trainee officer against the UTFO on June 30, 2022. It had been established that the UFTO had committed certain acts of misconduct. The Inquiry proceedings were duly examined at multiple levels before being approved at Air HQ, as per established procedure on the subject,” the statement said.

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