The death of a medical college dean, who was probing the MPPEB scam, has triggered fresh trouble for the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government. Priyanka Kaushal reports

2014-07-19 , Issue 29 Volume 11

Suicide or murder? Dr DK Sakalye (right) was found charred to death in his campus residence

Suicide or murder? Dr DK Sakalye (right) was found charred to death in his campus residence

Under fire already in connection with the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam involving irregularities in various professional recruitment exams, fresh trouble is brewing for Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh after the alleged suicide of Dr DK Sakalye, the dean of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College, Jabalpur, who was probing the scam.

At 7.30 am on 4 June, Dr Sakalye was found charred to death in the corridor of his residence in the medical college campus. While the police lost no time in calling it a case of suicide, the medical fraternity in Jabalpur refuses to believe that a distinguished forensic expert such as the 64-year-old Dr Sakalye would choose the most painful way to kill himself.

Now, not just the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Junior Doctors’ Association (JDA) of the medical college, but also the Opposition Congress party is demanding aCBI probe into the mysterious death.

The alleged suicide of Dr Sakalye has sent shockwaves through the political circles ofMadhya Pradesh. At 7 am on the day of the incident, the dean’s wife Bhakti Sakalye had gone out for a morning walk. When she returned, she found her husband’s charred body in the corridor of their house. Upon immediate examination, the chief medical officer declared him brought dead.

From the corridor of Dr Sakalye’s residence, the police recovered a 5-litre can of kerosene (with 3.5 litres kerosene left in it), a matchbox, a bucket and rubber slippers. There was no suicide note. Yet the police called it a case of suicide even before a postmortem was conducted. Later, the police constituted a Special Investigation Team to probe the reason of the dean’s death.

Several questions have been raised over the dean’s death. No one, except the police, is ready to accept this as a case of suicide. Adding to the mystery is the fact that the dean’s viscera was not preserved during the autopsy. The viscera could have revealed more about the possible cause of death than a mere postmortem can.

Dr Arvind Jain, former national vice-president of IMA, told TEHELKA, “The whole matter is highly suspicious. A forensic expert will never resort to self-immolation, the hardest and most excruciating way of killing oneself. Self-immolation is unbearably painful and may not lead to death in every case.”

According to Bhakti Sakalye, she was with her husband 20 minutes before his body was found. Referring to this fact, Dr Jain points out that it is impossible to get 98 percent burns and die within a span of just 20 minutes. “I have talked to several experts. How is it possible for someone to set himself on fire and die in just 20 minutes? Dr Sakalye did not have deep burns. In fact, his back had no burns at all. The texture of the skin also did not seem to suggest that he had 98 percent burns. I don’t believe it,” says Dr Jain. “The evidence collected from the site of the incident points in another direction. The spot where he was burned did not have any marks, neither of kerosene nor of fire. How is it possible? His viscera was not preserved. The police seemed to be in a hurry. They did not collect fingerprints from the spot. Chemical analysis of his skin was also not carried out. These points raise suspicion.”

Dr Jain alleges that the police seem to be under some kind of pressure not to investigate the death properly. “There is something wrong somewhere,” he says.


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