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Since 1st March, 1999
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Cops crack courier, not mystery
Drugs tied to Sahil, Rahul out of reach

New Delhi, June 4: Police today claimed to have found answers to two questions about the party at Rahul Mahajan’s residence, saying drugs had indeed featured and they were brought by the fourth guest, Sahil Zaroo.

But whether the drugs had caused Rahul’s illness and the death of Bibek Moitra, the late Pramod Mahajan’s private secretary, stayed unclear.

Sahil, arrested in Srinagar yesterday and flown to Delhi this morning, has confessed that “it was he who brought drugs there and gave them to Bibek and Rahul,” additional deputy commissioner Manish Aggarwal said.

The 21-year-old, booked for sale, purchase and consumption of drugs under the narcotics act, is the first named suspect after cases were lodged against “unknown persons” yesterday for taking drugs and destroying evidence.

The police’s efforts to question Rahul, however, drew a blank as Apollo Hospital refused to let officers meet him in the morning, saying he was “unfit” to make a statement.

Police sources said they found this difficult to believe after the hospital had said yesterday that Rahul was “coherent and well-oriented”. The hospital, however, hadn’t said that the 31-year-old had recovered enough to be questioned.

“We will take his statement once the doctors allow us to do it,” Aggarwal said.

The drug-or-poison debate, however, remained inconclusive with the wait for the viscera report from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory stretching into the third day after samples were sent. Lab sources had said the report would take five days.

Asked about the post-mortem findings, Aggarwal said, “From the reports we have received, the cause of death is unclear. It will be clear only when the viscera report comes.”

A source at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where the post-mortem was done, suggested an explanation that marries the drug and poison theories.

The findings point to a drug overdose, the source said, but “it has been found in some cases that narcotics have some quantity of thallium nitrate, which is used as rat poison in some European countries. It is possible that the thallium salt caused Moitra’s death.”

Sahil was remanded to eight days in police custody by a magistrate. The police said they might take the carpet merchant’s son to Mumbai, where he studied, to help the probe.

Sahil, who also ran a Kashmiri artefacts shop at a Mumbai hotel, is wanted there for jumping anticipatory bail after some banned shahtoosh shawls were seized from his shop, it emerged today.

The Delhi police have detained three Nigerians ' Abdulla, David and Michael ' for supplying drugs to Sahil.

Some light was shed on one other mystery today: why Rahul and Bibek had been taken to the Apollo Hospital when the AIIMS was much nearer.

Sudhanshu Mittal, a confidant of Pramod Mahajan, said it was the late BJP leader’s secretary, Harish Sharma, who had taken the decision.

“No one would like to take anybody to a government hospital during an emergency' where treatment would take at least half an hour to begin,” he told a TV channel.

Police said they would question both Mittal and Sharma.

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