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Minister guard found dead

Hazaribagh, July 13: A bodyguard of state agriculture minister Yogendra Sao was found dead in a room of the Circuit House in Hazaribagh this morning with police suspecting a heart attack caused by exhaustion to be the reason behind his death.

Superintendent of police (SP) Manoj Kaushik, nevertheless, said the exact reason would be clear only after the post-mortem report came as they found no injury mark on the body or anything suspicious in the room.

A Special Branch constable, Niranjan Mahto (35), who was among the 15 bodyguards responsible for Sao’s security, retired in the Circuit House late last night after a hectic day. Two other guards shared the room with him. However, around 7am, Mahto was found unconscious and was taken to the sadar hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

Sao and SP Kaushik visited the hospital and spoke to doctors, who said Mahto seemed to have died around 2am.

According to sources, Mahto, a resident of Basia in Lohardaga, accompanied the minister’s escort party from Ranchi to Gumla where Sao took part in the Congress’ workers conference yesterday. In the evening, Sao went to Patratu in Ramgarh to attend a programme and then went to the house of one of his close friends Prem Verma in Bhurkunda. Later, Sao and his escort party came to Hazaribagh late in the night. While Sao went to his house in Hurhuru, his bodyguards, including Mahto, went to the Circuit House for the night.

According to Ranjit Prasad, the driver of a police jeep in the escort party, Mahto didn’t eat anything in the morning and went to Gumla with Sao. He finally had his meal in the night at Bhurkunda.

“We all ate the same food and so no question of food poisoning. But we had travelled about 300km yesterday and he was in empty stomach, which might have led to a heart attack,” Prasad said.

Mahto’s nephew Vijay Mahto refused accept it as a natural death.

“How could he die all of a sudden.. he was in good health,” he said.

Later, Sao said the family of Mahto would get all help from the government as per norms.