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Fresh probe into XLRI student’s death

Police found that Shashwat had a few drinks the night before at a city eatery before returning to campus
Shashwat Dixit
Shashwat Dixit
The Telegraph picture

Our Special Correspondent   |   Jamshedpur   |   Published 03.10.19, 07:10 PM

 Police on Thursday said they would start a fresh probe into the death of XLRI student Shashwat Dixit in January this year with the forensic science laboratory report, which came in on Wednesday, indicating that he was poisoned.

The cops, based on CCTV camera footage and the statement of a lady security guard, had earlier said that Shashwat, a human resource management student of the 2017-19 batch who used to stay in room number 11 on the ground floor of St Thomas Hostel, had come close to the girls’ hostel (Mother Teresa Residency, which is around 50 metres from the boys’ hostel) and while entering a small hall outside the hostel suddenly lost balance and fell face-first on the ground around 5.50am on January 18.

The security guard screamed and ran out of the hall to inform others. Shashwat was rushed to Tata Main Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Police during the investigation also found that Shashwat had a few drinks during dinner the night before with four of his friends at a city eatery before returning to campus around 11.30pm.

“We had earlier lodged an unnatural-death case but we received the viscera report on Wednesday from the state forensic science laboratory in Ranchi which has termed the death due to consumption of poison,” Bistupur police station officer-in-charge (OC) Rajesh Prakash Sinha said on Thursday.

“This would lead us to change our line of probe into the incident. We will speak to the father (Mumbai-based retired banker A.K. Dixit) of the deceased student tomorrow and start fresh probe.

We might also speak to the XLRI authorities again and to the deceased student’s batchmates.”

Police sources said that usually it takes a fortnight for obtaining a viscera report from the forensic science laboratory, but a huge backlog of cases in the state’s only such lab at Hotwar, Ranchi, led to the delay in getting the report.

“The autopsy of Shashwat was done at MGM Medical College in Dimna in January and the viscera was preserved and sent to the Ranchi lab in February,” a police source said.

“However, around 4,000 cases are pending. This led to the delay of eight months in getting the report. The autopsy report of MGM was inconclusive as there was no external injury on the body. On the advice of the forensic department of MGM, police had sent the viscera to the Ranchi lab to ascertain if the death was due to ingestion of poison.”

OC Sinha said police would like to speak Shashwat’s batchmates — who might be working in different companies now — with whom he had drunk liquor.

Shashwat had already been selected in Accenture as a talent accelerator and was to graduate from the institute in March.

Father Jerome Cutinha, XLRI director (administration and finance), said they were yet to be given the viscera report by the Bistupur police.

“We are yet to receive the viscera report of Shashwat and are not in a position to comment on it. We are ready to cooperate with the police in their investigation as we had done earlier,” he said.

“We have done whatever is necessary in consultation with the district administration in terms of security protocols for students on campus.”

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