Sahayak's death: Cops ask Army if scribe went to restricted areas

Mar 18, 2017, 10:50 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

The reporter has been asked to submit unedited footage of video she shot

Lance Naik Roy Mathew
Lance Naik Roy Mathew

Continuing their probe into the mysterious death of Lance Naik Roy Mathew, the Deolali Camp police responded to the letter from the School of Artillery, Deolali Camp that had asked them to take up a case of trespassing against the journalist from a web portal that conducted a sting operation on the Sahayak system. The cops have now asked the Army if she visited areas that were restricted for civilians.

Speaking to mid-day, senior police inspector GP Lokare said, "We received the letter few days ago and consulted the public prosecutor. The prosecutor and legal experts have advised us to seek some clarifications from the Army and accordingly, we have sent a letter today (Friday). On the basis of the response, the further course of action would be decided."

What the cops want to know
When asked to elaborate on the clarification the police have sought from Army, the officer hinted, "We want to know if the places that the journalist visited during the shoot were actually prohibited/restricted areas for civilians." mid-day had reported on March 5 that the Army and the Deolali Camp police are looking at the reporter's entry into the highly-restricted Cantonment as a security breach.

Meanwhile, the reporter arrived in Deolali a week ago and met senior police officers. She is likely to be summoned again soon. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 2) Shrikant Devre confirmed the scribe's visit and said, "We had a set of questions for her, and wanted her to submit the unedited footage of the video, and as she was not carrying the same, we have asked her to get it on her next visit."

DCP Devre said the scribe admitted that she had indeed videotaped Roy Mathew, along with a few other army men, who were featured in the sting operation."She hinted that she had met around seven to eight army men for the shoot but was apprehensive about revealing their identity, as she feared that even they might take an extreme step like Roy Mathew and therefore, did not name anyone," said the DCP.

"We have consulted our law officers on the letter received from the Army and are taking all opinions and seeking clarifications before deciding on the further course of investigation," Devre said, adding, "We will summon the journalist again and record her detailed statements in coming days."

Colonel's statement
The Deolali police have already recorded the statement of a Colonel-rank official to whom Mathew had sent the last SMS on February 25, saying he was 'sorry', before his mobile phone switched off. His body was found on March 2. The Colonel stated that usually his subordinates do contact him when they are depressed and he sanctions them a 10-day leave. By the time they return to duty, they are fresh and normal. Even in Roy's case, he'd asked him to take a leave and resume duty after the break, but he never felt Roy would take such an extreme step. When asked if cops would also be probing the family's claim of Army officers questioning Roy post the release of the video and his subsequent fear of getting court martial, DCP Devre replied in the negative, "Our investigation is limited to the circumstances that led to the suicide and our probe will be restricted to that." The Army has already constituted an internal inquiry into the case.

Second post mortem
Meanwhile in Kerala, the police sub-inspector Abdul Manaf from the Ezhukone Police Station that is conducting a parallel probe, said, "We have recorded the statement of Roy's widow Fini and other family members, who have informed us that they suspect Roy was killed and that he would never have committed suicide. They even made a random comment about some injury marks on Roy's body."

"We have corroborated the statements given by Roy's family with the autopsy surgeons at Medical College, Trivandrum, where Roy's second post mortem was done on March 4. The surgeons have categorically denied witnessing any injury marks on Roy's body, other than the ligature mark, which they have said is due to hanging," said PSI Manaf, adding, "We are awaiting the final post mortem report and also the chemical analysis reports. If the second report comes up with any new findings, we're open to probing those."

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