Grave echo haunts BJP

'Murder' tag on medico death

By Rasheed Kidwai
  • Published 9.07.15
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan fought a lonely battle in Delhi with the BJP declaring it will not comment on the scam.
(PTI picture)

Bhopal, July 8: The BJP today "closed" the Vyapam scandal but inconvenient details and a purported somersault kept national attention focused on the controversy.

What tormented the party today was a suggestion that the three-year-old death of an MBBS student was passed off as an accident although an autopsy indicated homicide.

Namrata Damor, 19, was found dead by the railway tracks near Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh in January 2012. Her death has been linked to the Vyapam admission scandal.

Dr B.B. Purohit, part of the team that performed the autopsy on Namrata, today said she was strangulated. "She was murdered. There is not even one per cent chance of a natural death," Purohit told NDTV.

"We three doctors conducted the post-mortem... we have over 25 years of experience. There were bruises on the nose and mouth... which indicated she was strangled. Also, the bruises on her body suggested she was dragged on the tracks after her death," he added. "It was a case of violent asphyxia as a result of smothering" and nail injuries were found on her face.

However, Dr. D.S. Badkur, the head of Madhya Pradesh's Medico Legal Institute that specialises in forensic medicine, contested the claim.

Badkur said he had visited the spot where the body was found and submitted a report. In Badkur's report, he had treated it as a case of suicide and rejected the opinion of the three other doctors, Purohit (forensic medicine), Dr O.P. Gupta (medical officer) and Dr Anita Joshi (gynaecologist).

Badkur said: "I did not believe in the post-mortem report made by the three doctors. I differed with their opinion. I had submitted my own report."

Badkur said he was prepared to face any inquiry. Sources said it was Badkur's report that prompted Ujjain police to change the "murder" case to that of an "accident".

Badkur said Namrata was reported missing on January 2, 2012, and her body was recovered on January 7 and cremated. Her brother filed a missing person's report on January 12. On January 29, her body was exhumed.

Namrata's case was closed much before the Vyapam scam probe formally began in August 2013.

Her death had come into focus last week when Akshay Singh, a TV journalist, had died minutes after interviewing her father. Akshay was reportedly pursuing allegations that Namrata, a second-year medical student when she died, was among those who secured admission illegally in what came to be known as the Vyapam scam.

PTI reported during the day that Ujjain SP Manohar Singh Varma had said "we have ordered a review of the death of Namrata Damor. The sub-divisional officer of police, Tarana, R.K. Sharma will reopen the case."

But Varma later said: "We investigated her death and re-created the crime scene with forensic experts. We found nothing that suggested murder. If there is new evidence, we can investigate again but so far, there is nothing."

Ujjain range inspector-general of police V. Madhu Kumar also said: "No review was ordered in the case as investigation is complete and the report has been submitted. No question of any review arises. If a court or any other agency says, then only a case can be re-opened."

Although the Shivraj Chouhan government pleaded in Jabalpur High Court today for a CBI probe, the court deferred the hearing to July 20.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court is scheduled to take up a clutch of similar petitions.

The Opposition Congress has criticised Chouhan for writing to the high court instead of the Union government, which usually passes on inquiry requests to the CBI.