Cover-up seen in medico’s death

Police opened a murder case, but closed it as suicide.

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:54 am IST

Published - July 08, 2015 04:18 pm IST - New Delhi

In what could prove to be evidence of a cover-up in the Vyapam scam investigation, the report of the autopsy conducted on a 19-year-old medical student in 2012, which said she was strangled, was overturned two months later by a “forensic” report which indicated that she committed suicide.

The body of Namrata Damor was found on a railway track in Ujjain in January 2012. The autopsy report filed the same month said she died from “violent asphyxia as a result of smothering” and that the findings suggested “homicidal” death. The police initially filed a case of murder, but while filing a closure report in 2014, termed it a suicide.

That view appears to have been influenced by a forensic report, filed two months after the autopsy, by B.S. Badkur, then head of the State-run Medico-Legal Institute. In an interview to a TV channel, Dr. Badkur admitted that he had written the report without examining the body but simply by looking at pictures of the body and “other documents”. On the basis of this evidence, his report concluded that Namrata’s injuries were more consistent with a fall on the train track rather than smothering or asphyxiation.

“There is always some reason to commit suicide. In this case it appears to be some disappointment in love and annoyance of parents,” the report says. Congress leaders here immediately alleged that the second report was a cover-up and that no forensic report could be done on the basis of just looking at photographs.

The first autopsy report, of January 9, 2012, was signed by B.B. Purohit (forensic medicine specialist), O.P. Gupta (medical officer) and Anita Joshi (gynaecologist). “The panel that conducted the post-mortem never mentioned in its short report as well as the detailed one that it was a case of suicide,” Dr. Purohit said adding that they found nail marks on her face.

Namrata’s death was being investigated by India Today journalist Akshay Singh who died suddenly after speaking to her father and obtaining some documents. The Madhya Pradesh police have now also ordered a review of the case.

Jabalpur Bench to wait for SC ruling

Meanwhile, the Jabalpur Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday refused to hear the government’s plea for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the Vyapam scam. The court said it will wait for the Supreme Court ruling on various petitions making the same plea. The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on July 9 on four petitions.

On Thursday, the apex court will also hear a case that seeks the removal of Ram Naresh Yadav as Madhya Pradesh Governor. Mr. Yadav is alleged to have major links to the scam but has been protected from investigation thus far by ‘constitutional immunity’ as long as he holds the post of Governor. Documents uncovered on Wednesday showed that he was actually named as an accused by the police in one of the cases relating to the scam.

Top developments:

1Police ordered a review of the suspicious death of MBBS student Namrata Damor. Her body was found near railway tracks in the Ujjain district in 2012 after her name figured in the scam. Earlier, police had registered a “murder” case in this regard and later termed the incident as an “accident” and closed the case.
2 Buckling under pressure, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made a U-turn and decided to seek a CBI investigation into the case. >Read more
3 Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition seeking removal of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav over his alleged involvement in the scam. >Read more
4 The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party demanded a SC-monitored probe in to the case following the spate of deaths. >Read more
5Adding to the string of deaths, the body of trainee sub-inspector Anamika Sikarwar was found in a lake adjacent to the Police Training Academy at Sagar district headquarters in Madhya Pradesh. The Chief Minister quickly denied that the incident was linked to the Vyapam probe.
6Whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi, 26, claimed that there was a grave threat to his life and accused Mr.Chouhan of being “directly involved” in the scam, a charge rubbished by the CM.
7 It came after the unexplained death of journalist Akshay Singh who was covering the scam in Jhabua while Jabalpur Medical College Dean Arun Sharma, probing fake examinees, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a hotel at Dwarka in south-west Delhi. Police on Monday said no foul play was suspected in the death of Sharma . >Read more
8 Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government cannot direct a High Court or Supreme Court to order a CBI probe into the scam. >Read more
9 Two senior officers of the Special Task Force (STF) investigating the MPPEB scam claimed to have received threats allegedly from some influential people involved in the racket. >Read more
10 The scam involves massive irregularities and corruption in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) or MP Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal, abbreviated in Hindi as Vyapam. It has been alleged — by the Congress as well as several social activists — that the corrupt officials at the board took money to compromise the examination and recruitment for several professional course including Pre-Engineering, Pre-Medical, MCA, Teaching etc. The current accusations mostly involve teaching recruitments. >Read more
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