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Sachan death: Was it murder or suicide?

By Sharat Pradhan
June 23, 2011 23:30 IST
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Even as there were several tell-tale signs of murder, the Uttar Pradesh government continued to stick on to its theory of suicide by jailed deputy chief medical officer Dr Y S Sachan, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances inside the Lucknow district jail on Wednesday night.

While the post-mortem report mentions "excessive bleeding" as the cause of death and also clearly talks about nine wounds on the doctor's body, the official line rules out murder.

"As per the post mortem report, eight of the nine wounds on Sachan's body were caused by a sharp–edged blade, while one was a mark left all around his neck," UP cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told a press conference in Lucknow on Thursday evening.

He said, "While two wounds were found on his neck, two each on the right and left elbows, one on the left thigh and one on his wrist."

"Prima facie, it is a case of suicide, but I would not like to draw any definite conclusion, since a judicial probe is already underway," he asserted.

The government is also in no mood to concede Sachan family's demand for handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

"There is no reason why we should the investigation to any other agency including the CBI, when the state police have already arrested the key suspects, who have confessed their crime," Singh said.

Meanwhile reiterating his demand for a CBI probe, Sachan's elder brother Dr R K Sachan however made it loud and clear, "We are just not satisfied with the state government's investigations, and we have decided not to cremate the body until our demand for a CBI probe is conceded."

The cabinet secretary sought to suggest that Sachan first tried to strangulate himself by using his own belt, but when that failed to work, he used a blade to cut his veins in different places, following which he bled to death.

Dismissing the echoing opposition demand, which supported the family's insistence on a CBI inquiry, the cabinet secretary said, "The chief minister can see a political design of certain opposition parties to serve their own political ends through this incident."

Claiming that the chief minister had given stern instructions to  maintain complete transparency in the investigations, the cabinet secretary said, "That was the reason we not only got the post mortem carried out by an independent team of five doctors, but we also got it videographed ."

He also sought to point out, "Significantly, Sachan had never applied for bail before any higher court once his bail plea was rejected by the lower court; and the fact that he was to be produced before a court on June 23 when he was to be handed over on remand to the police."

Asked how he could procure a blade inside the jail where he had been holed up ever since April, he said, "We have already taken action against five jail officials including the jailor and deputy jailor."

Earlier during the day, the government had ordered suspension of Lucknow district jail jailor J P Srivastava, deputy jailor Sunil Kumar Singh, head wardenBabu Ram Dube and two wardens, Anil Kumar Tripathi and Ram Naresh Tiwari.

Sachan was named as the key accused in the murder of Singh, who was gunned down close to his residence while he was on his routine morning walk on April 2.

His predecessor, Dr Vinod Arya was also killed in the exactly the same manner and shot by masked motor-cyclists in October 2010. He too was on his usual morning walk.

Sachan was named in CMO murder case as the main accused by police following the arrest of three persons by the Special Task Force on June 17. Singh was shot dead by unidentified persons on the morning of April 2.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow