The Navy says probe into diver Amar Paladhe’s death will serve no purpose

A 22-year-long journey for justice by a grieving mother has reached a dead end with the Navy refusing to investigate the death of a trained diver.

Four years after a division bench of the Hyderabad High Court acknowledged that Amar Paladhe died under suspicious circumstances, the Navy has said investigation into the case will serve no purpose since monetary compensation has already been paid to the family of the deceased.

In an affidavit submitted on April 6, 2016, the Navy said “no useful purpose would be served (by investigating the case) as the deceased has been granted all his pensionary benefits/terminal dues.”

The affidavit claims that “it would be humanly impossible for any witness involved to remember the facts and figures due to afflux of time.”

“It would be administratively difficult after a period of 22 years to reinvestigate the matter since the witnesses involved are now retired and are not in service,” said the affidavit. The Hyderabad court’s April 2013 order acknowledged that Amar’s death, which occurred after he dived into the sea during an operational exercise, occurred under suspicious circumstances.

Amar was recruited as Seaman-I, Clearance Diver No. III, and, in 1993, he was in the Eastern Naval Command Clearance Diving scheme.

He had jumped — during an exercise along the Kakinada coast on September 21, 1993 — from a helicopter into the sea. He did not, however, reach the shore as planned, and his body was found two days later. The post-mortem report revealed that there were two ante-mortem injuries on Amar’s body, but no explanation has been offered.

When Anuradha Paladhe, former teacher and a resident of Dombivli, and her late husband Ashok Paladhe, received information of their son’s death, they found the post-mortem report did not mention the cause of death. “We hoped that at least a court order would ensure that a new inquiry was set up and we would know the true cause of Amar’s death,” Ms. Paladhe told The Hindu. The court said the deceased was a well-trained diver and was a “cut above the other divers”, which was acknowledged by the Navy. It also pointed out the inconsistencies in the deposition by Navy officials. “If the court spells out that the death is ‘suspicious’, it is the duty of the Navy to find out what is suspicious. It is the right of a mother to know why and how her son died ,” said Sunil Ganu, Ms. Paladhe’s lawyer.