TAGORE envisioned his countrymen to awake into that heaven of freedom where the mind was without fear and the head was held high. Over five decades later, it is the mafia and the criminals, not commoners, who can boast of having the mind without fear and the head held high. Much of the credit for it surely goes to our police force.
The cases in point are the murders of the likes of Jessica Lal who was shot dead on the night of April 29-30, 1999, at a South Delhi restaurant, Priyadarshini Mattoo, a 3rd year law student of Delhi, who was raped and hanged to death on January 23, 1996, and more recently Mehar Bhargava, wife of a UP State Congress leader, who being shot at in Lucknow on February 28, 2006, died in a Delhi hospital on March 25, 2006. The facts in common in all three cases were slipshod investigation by the police to enable highly influential suspects to get the benefit of doubt. In the first two cases, the trial courts, in fact, let off the accused passing strictures for shoddy investigation to the police and the CBI respectively. Both the investigations have since been reopened, primarily in view of wide media coverage and adverse public reaction. In the third case also the same intensity of media publicity has now compelled the police to press into action after initial indifference and lapses.
In this article, I am going to expose yet another attempt of the police to hush up murder of a minor boy of 17, viz Raj Mishra, a love-all, trust-all youth of exceptionally high IQ pursuing modelling in Mumbai. His six ft decomposed body was found hanging from the seven ft high kitchen door-closure, just about 6? above hanging Raj, the floor being 6? below him, at his Mumbai flat at Oshiwara on November 1, 2005, the Diwali Day, with about three litres of blood clotted on the floor. Raj had no internal or external injury according to the post-mortem report. His mother, a freelance writer, is convinced that her child was killed by the mafia against whom she happened to write several columns in reputed Dailies. Incidentally, Raj came to Kolkata in mid-October to apply for his passport and to stay there till police verification was completed, but suddenly changed his mind at the frantic call of a friend, and returned to Mumbai in three days.
There was no suicide note, and no apparent reason for him to commit suicide. The huge quantum of clotted blood on the floor, routinely photographed and mentioned in the police Panchnama should have ordinarily suggested to the trained mind of a seasoned police officer that it was not a case of suicide for in a hanging case so much of blood never comes out of the body. Besides, his cell phone which was his constant companion was found missing and the calls-printout revealed that he made a call to the police no. 100 on October 29 without response. Police, however, chose to overlook all these vital clues and wanted to close the case as suicide.
Raj had no internal or external injury according to the post-mortem report. His mother, a freelance writer, is convinced that her child was killed by the mafia against whom she happened to write several columns in reputed Dailies. Incidentally, Raj came to Kolkata in mid-October to apply for his assport and to stay there till police verification was completed
And so did, the medical officer, even before conducting post-mortem. When parents and relatives of Raj told the doctor that they suspected homicide in view of the presence of huge quantity of blood on the floor, and the height from which he was hanging, the medical officer sent his stomach, piece of intestine, liver, spleen and kidney for forensic test, but refused to visit the site unless the police asked him to. As a matter of fact, it was dead fishes in the aquarium that emitted foul smell and not the clotted blood.
The forensic report dated December 12, 2005, revealed presence of Ethyl alcohol to the extent of 149 mg per 100 gm in stomach and intestine, 108 mg per 100 gm in liver, and 126 mg per 100 ml in blood. Incidentally, no evidence of alcohol consumption could be found in the flat by the police when the decomposed body of Raj was retrieved. He had no past history of addiction.
Besides, several types of cigarette butts, recovered from the flat clearly suggested presence of many in the flat before his death. The DNA test of those cigarette butts was necessary but not done.
The medical officer, even after seven months of the demise, has not indicated the time and date of Raj'sdeath for reason best known to him.
At the instance of Dr. Pasricha, the Director General of Police, who was convinced of the foul play, the case of Raj was eventually transferred to the Crime Branch by the end of January. When fingerprint experts of the Crime Branch arrived at the flat in February to collect evidence, they discovered that the entire flat was already painted with several coatings (reportedly around the time of transfer of the case to the Crime Branch) and all utensils were also nicely cleaned up by the landlord Ritesh Aggarwala at his expense, without even informing the tenant, viz. Raj'smother. Such weird behaviour of Aggarwala defied logic. The FIR lodged by Raj'smother at Oshiwara PS against Aggarwala on the grounds of trespass and destruction of evidence was evidently not acted upon. It is now learnt that Dhumal, the Investigating Officer in Raj'scase has since been transferred and no other officer has been assigned this case to follow up.
Is there any unholy pressure on Mumbai police to hush up the case of Raj? Will the Chief Minister and Home Minister of Maharashtra please wake up to revamp the police force and instill it with strength and determination to, in the words of Swami Vivekananda, ?face the brute? so that no criminal can get away without punishment?