The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cocktail of theories
No-drug twist, poison charge

New Delhi, June 3: A “coherent” Rahul Mahajan woke up this morning, had a glass of water and smiled at his mother from the hospital bed.

However, by the time night fell, the mystery at 7 Safdarjung Road was caught in an angry welter of conspiracy theories and a baffling medical report, punctuated by the “capture” of a missing link on live television.

The first intriguing twist was added in the afternoon when Apollo Hospital, where Rahul is being treated, said tests could not find significant levels of cocaine or any other narcotic substance. His urine samples tested positive only for benzodiazepine, a chemical that indicates he was on anti-depressants.

“We are unable to identify what caused the clinical situation,” Apollo Hospital director Anupam Sibal said but he added that “we will not be able to say anything (if he has taken anything else) as tests are not available for everything.”

The moment the hospital made the report public, Rahul’s uncle Gopinath Munde declared that both his nephew and Bibek Moitra, Pramod Mahajan’s secretary who died, had been “poisoned”.

“The medical report has made it clear that Rahul has not taken any drugs, even cocaine. I think they were poisoned,” Munde said, without explaining why he thought so.

Unattributed reports soon began circulating that Bibek’s post-mortem had found traces of poison but Dr T.D. Dogra, who conducted the autopsy at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, was non-committal. “The viscera has been preserved. That is all I can say at the moment,” said Dr Dogra.

But police said they would not go by the Apollo medical report and contested the reports that suggested traces of poison were found during the post-mortem.

The police have filed a case against “unknown persons” under the narcotics act for consumption of drugs and another for destruction of evidence. Consumption of drugs is a bailable offence and carries a punishment of six months in jail.

The clothes of Rahul and Bibek have been sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory for tests. A TV channel said the lab’s preliminary tests suggested traces of a cocktail of drugs but the police did not confirm this.

“We are waiting for the results of the test on the white powder that was picked up from Mahajan’s house and have registered a case on the basis of strong suspicion that the powder is a psychotropic substance. The three persons who are being interrogated will remain under detention till the report comes,” said additional deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi) Manish Aggarwal.

The three ' Karan Ahuja, Trishay Khanna and Rahul Malhotra ' had given themselves up to police yesterday and maintained that Bibek and Rahul had snorted cocaine.

In the evening, Sahil Ahmad Zaroo, the fourth person who the three said had bought the drug, surfaced in a television studio in Srinagar, only to be picked up by the police in the middle of an interview.

Sahil denied that he procured cocaine for Rahul and Bibek for their Thursday night party. “When I entered Rahul’s room, there was some white powder on the table. I also tasted a little of it and I immediately fell unconscious,” Sahil told The Telegraph in Srinagar.

The police also seemed to believe that some kind of “perversion” happened during the party but refused to elaborate.

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