The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Post-mortem does a Prasun

The preliminary report of the post-mortem on Rizwanur Rahman’s body had stated that the 30-year-old had apparently committed suicide, stumping experts who claim such reports do not carry any opinion about the cause of death.

Doctors at Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital, who conducted the post-mortem, validated their “findings” in the final report on the basis of viscera test results.

“Opinion about the cause of death in the preliminary report is unusual,” said a forensic expert.

“In the case of a train accident, it’s difficult to find out from the post-mortem whether the person had jumped in front of the train or was pushed on the tracks. There can be several reasons for the death. So, the preliminary post-mortem report only states the nature of death, not whether it was suicide or murder,” another expert said.

The way the doctors reached the premature conclusion had a parallel in former police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee’s comment two days after Rizwanur’s death that the computer graphics designer had committed suicide, before the post-mortem findings came in.

Both doctors who carried out the post-mortem — B. Kahali and S. Batabyal — refused to comment.

The preliminary report was sent to the CID, which was probing Rizwanur’s death till the CBI took over. “The doctors had said in the preliminary report that the death was apparently a suicide,” a CID official said. The opinion was “reconfirmed” after the state forensic science laboratory sent the viscera test report.

A CBI official said: “The viscera test did not reveal any traces of poison or drug. It suggests that Rizwanur was not forcibly drugged and then left on the tracks.” But experts are wondering how the doctors could come up with the suicide theory before going through the viscera report.

Apart from drugging Rizwanur and pushing him in front of a running train, there could be several other ways of driving him to death. “For instance, he could have been hit on the head with a heavy metal object and then dragged to the tracks,” said an expert.

Forensic experts also criticised the way in which the post-mortem was conducted. There was no photographic evidence of the procedure. In India, photographs are mandatory only in custodial or dowry deaths. “But in Rizwanur’s case, the photographs would have been crucial,” the expert added.

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