Eyebrows were raised immediately news broke about the alleged suicide of Sadiq Batcha, close partner of former Telecom Minister A. Raja. The latter is presently in jail as the main suspect in the 2G Spectrum scam. Batcha was reputed to be in the know of all payments made in the scam and considered the most crucial probe witness by the CBI.
The very timing of the death was too coincidental to remain unnoticed. Batcha was due to fly to Delhi to be questioned by CBI hours before his death. By all accounts he was looking forward to the interrogation quite cheerfully.
Many hours after Batcha was found hanging in his residence, the police produced the suicide note purportedly written by him. For a dying man Batcha’s priorities in his last message were to say the least curious. Apart from stating that none was to blame for his death the note was very self effacing. The note highlighted instead the fact that A. Raja and his wife were innocent in the scam.
The post mortem identified asphyxiation as the cause of death. It was conducted by Dr. Dekal. Now media has unearthed a fact that makes suspicions about Batcha’s death darker. The good doctor claimed that he had offered to resign a month earlier in order to contest the forthcoming assembly election as an independent candidate. However this fact was publicized only four days ago.
There was therefore a clear conflict of interest revealed by the doctor’s intention to enter the electoral fray. As an election candidate he was in a position to be helped by the DMK to which party the main accused A. Raja belongs. Why, then did not the authorities get the post mortem performed by another doctor? Dr Dekal claims that no other doctor was available at that time. He may have performed the autopsy unmindful of the implications. Surely the government would have perceived the glaring conflict of interest given the importance of the case. Could not another doctor be assigned the task from all of Chennai since Batcha’s death was an extra sensitive case?
The questions and doubts expressed by the media and the public started swirling. The State government was pushed on the back foot and was constrained to reject the doctor’s resignation. So for the moment the possibility of an independent unexpectedly winning his election does not seem to arise. But the damage to the credibility of Batcha’s alleged suicide has been inflicted. It has further eroded faith in the investigation. Doubtless the controversy will gather momentum as more and more questions will continue to be raised.