'Balika Vadhu' star suicide: Was Pratyusha Banerjee pregnant?

White thickish fluid in uterus found during actor's postmortem could be indicative of early pregnancy, says forensic surgeon. Experts wait for histopathology test to confirm

The Bangur Nagar police, probing the death of 25-year-old actress Pratyusha Banerjee, said to have committed suicide on Friday, is leaving no stone unturned to ascertain the facts of the case.

Late actor Pratyusha Banerjee was dating actor-producer Rahul Raj Singh since November 2015
Late actor Pratyusha Banerjee was dating actor-producer Rahul Raj Singh since November 2015

In a step away from the norm, the police had the autopsy videographed and even requested the autopsy surgeons to delay the procedure until the deceased's parents had arrived from Jamshedpur. In addition, the surgeons have also been requested to study the crime scene at flat no 703, Harmony building, Goregaon (W), where she was found hanging from a ceiling fan on Friday.

A panel of forensic surgeons, including Dr Bale Patil and Dr Prashant Waghmare attached to the newly opened Siddharth Postmortem Center at Goregaon, conducted the autopsy on Saturday, which lasted for over two hours.

According to sources attached to the center, "The deceased had applied sindoor. There was a tattoo on the nape of her neck with the name 'Rahul' and a heart engraved in it. There was a hesitation suicide cut on her left wrist (about 4-5 months old) made using a sharp weapon (perhaps a blade), indicating that Pratyusha might have attempted suicide in the past."

Rahul Raj Singh. Pic/Shadab Khan
Rahul Raj Singh. Pic/Shadab Khan

"The body did not show any struggle or injury marks externally and internally. However, the stomach did contain some greenish fluid, which has been preserved for testing. Though the fluid did not have any peculiar smell, the stomach showed signs of erosion, which could be due to ingestion of drugs, alcohol or even medicine," said a surgeon.

The forensic surgeons also found, a whitish thick fluid, in the uterus, which is indicative of an early stage of pregnancy. Police Surgeon Dr SM Patil confirmed this. "The fluid has been preserved and sent for histopathology tests, to confirm pregnancy and to rule out infection within the uterus."

Dr Yogeshwar S Nandanwar, Professor and Head of the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, LTMG Medical College, said, "The presence of the fluid could indicate either early stage of pregnancy or infection. Usually, apart from the thickening of the endometrial wall, a sack is visible within four to five weeks if it's pregnancy, but if the sack is not seen, then only a histopathology test can confirm pregnancy."

Though a complete ligature mark is visible on the deceased's neck, indicating that the marking was anti-mortem (before death), surgeons have kept the cause of death pending for chemical analysis and histopathology findings to arrive. Blood samples, hair and nail clippings have been preserved and sent for DNA examination. The preliminary cause of death has been given as, "ligature over the neck with signs of asphyxia".

The police has also requested the forensic surgeons to visit the crime scene on Sunday afternoon to corroborate the claim by Rahul Raj Singh that a domestic help had jumped into the flat from a neighbouring balcony when he found the house locked from inside. The surgeons will ascertain if this is true and also measure the height of the deceased with that of the ceiling fan and the knot that she had tied to her dupatta. The surgeons will rule if this was a case of suicide or a case of homicide, i.e. if there is a possibility that she was intoxicated and then hanged from the ceiling fan.

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