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Autopsy hole in TMC claim

- Contractor’s post-mortem report points to blood clot, not cardiac ailment
Contractor Ashim Mukherjee (top), trade union leader Kedar Pal

Durgapur, Aug. 4: The post-mortem report of ECL contractor Ashim Mukherjee shows he died of haematoma, a swelling of clotted blood at the back of his head, not of any cardiac ailment as suggested by a Trinamul leader.

Sunil Yadav, the additional deputy commissioner of police (east), today said that according to the post-mortem report, “Ashim Mukherjee died of haematoma on the right side of the back of his head”.

A doctor who was told about the case spoke of “traumatic impact” that could lead to death.

Partha Pal, the medical superintendent of The Mission Hospital in Durgapur, said: “Haematoma is a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues. In this case, it appears that the haematoma was caused by traumatic impact. Traumatic impact can lead to death.”

Asked whether Mukherjee was suffering from any cardiac ailment, Yadav said the post-mortem report had not suggested he was suffering from any such disease or that the death was caused by a heart attack.

“We did not find any cardiac ailment of Mukherjee mentioned in the post-mortem report,” he said.

On August 2, Mukherjee was allegedly beaten up by Trinamul trade union leader Kedar Pal at the Jambad opencast mine of Eastern Coalfields Ltd in Andal.

One of Mukherjee’s employees and eyewitness Kartik Dhibar had said on August 2 that Pal, who was the secretary of the INTTUC-backed trade union at a coalmine, kicked and punched electrical maintenance contractor Mukherjee, and banged his head repeatedly against a wall.

Mukherjee fell to the ground unconscious and was later declared brought dead at a nearby ECL hospital.

Trinamul Pandaveswar block president Narendranath Chakraborty, who looks after INTTUC unions in the area, had said that Mukherjee was suffering from “cardiac ailments” and collapsed from “chest pain during the argument” with Pal.

Today, Chakraborty declined comment. The matter “is under police investigation”, he said.

Today Pal was suspended from the Koyla Khadan Mazdoor Congress of the INTTUC, which means he also lost his post as the outfit’s unit secretary in the Jambad mine.

“We have suspended Pal after we found him guilty in our inquiry. His conduct has maligned the image of our trade union and the party. So we have suspended him for an indefinite period,” said Hareram Singh, general secretary of INTTUC-backed Mazdoor Congress at Eastern Coalfields Ltd.

INTTUC sources said they had found that Pal used to demand money from contractors who supplies materials in ECL mines in the area.

Police sources said Pal told investigators during interrogation last night that an altercation had started between him and Mukherjee over his helmet.

“Pal told us that he asked Mukherjee to buy a new helmet as the current one had become old and shabby and he had thrown the helmet on the ground for fun, and that is how the altercation started. Shortly afterwards, Ashim clutched his chest and collapsed,” said a police officer quoting Pal.

Mukherjee’s younger brother Anup Mukherjee said his brother “had no cardiac problem and he died because of the beating as he refused to pay money to Pal”.

The altercation happened around 10am on August 2 outside the gates of the Jambad mine in Andal.

A CPM delegation led by former Asansol MP Bansagopal Chowdhury visited Mukherjee’s house in Asansol town today and spoke to the family.

“There is complete lawlessness and unrest going on in the Asansol industrial belt as well as in the state. We hope the police will investigate the case properly,” Chowdhury said.