An inquiry set up to probe the deaths of four youths during the police recruitment drive in June, which had caused outrage among citizens and politicians alike, has absolved the Mumbai police of all blame.

To get the full 20 marks, candidates were supposed to finish the five-km run in less than 20 minutes. File pic
To get the full 20 marks, candidates were supposed to finish the five-km run in less than 20 minutes. File pic

Following the deaths, Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria had ordered unit VII of the crime branch to conduct a detailed inquiry. The cops have completed their investigation and will be submitting their report to Maria by the end of this week.

According to the report, of the four youths that died, one had dengue, another had pneumonia and the other two were unfit for the five-kilometre run and had pushed themselves too hard. Far from finding the police supervisors at the drive guilty of neglect, the investigators found them “helpful”, according to an officer from unit VII.

In the course of their inquiry, the crime branch officials quizzed the supervisors present at the venue and went through the victims’ post-mortem reports thoroughly.

The investigators also sent the tissues of all the four deceased - Baban Ambadas Sonawane (28), Rahul Sakpal (21), Vishal Kedar (25) and Gaihininath Latpate (25) to JJ Hospital’s histopathology department.

The post-mortem report of Sonawane, a Nashik resident, says that he was suffering from dengue when he took part in the five-km run. An officer from crime branch Unit VII said, “Sonawane participated in the activity on June 11 and after he collapsed he was immediately taken to Mahatma Phule hospital.

His blood samples were taken at the hospital and primary medical aid was given to him before he was sent to Sion hospital, where he was declared dead the same afternoon. The blood samples taken by doctors at Mahatma Phule hospital helped us establish that he had dengue.”

Vikhroli resident Rahul Sakpal, who had been practising for a month for the police recruitment test, had pneumonia when he took part in the five-km run, according to the report. Sakpal, who did not know he had the disease when he ran, completed the activity in 24 minutes and collapsed.

“He had participated in the activity on June 11 and died on June 14. Pneumonia is not the only reason he died. Being a patient, he ran for five km and the exertion could have led to his death,” added the officer. According to the report, Vishal Kedar and Gaihininath Latpate, residents of Nashik and Beed resident respectively, died due to multi-organ failure.

“The doctors stated that Kedar and Latpate weren’t fit enough to run and they wanted to complete the five-km run in 20 minutes as the candidates taking longer get less than the 20 marks allotted for the activity. The marks drop for every extra minute,” said the crime branch officer.

The post-mortems of Sakpal, Kedar and Latpate were conducted in Rajawadi hospital while Sonawane’s was conducted in Sion hospital. The cops also checked whether the deceased had consumed any kind of steroid in order to increase their stamina.

'Cops innocent'
Asked whether the report carried any negative comments against the police supervisors, the officer said, “Instead, the supervisors were continuously announcing at the venue that candidates should run later if their body was not supporting them. We even have a video of them doing so. So, if they were helpful, how can we blame them?”