The Delhi Police is planning to conduct a lie detector test on the three men arrested in connection with the death of an Indian-born US citizen at his friend’s home in New Friends Colony on July 4. Three men — Nitin Sabharwal (48), Mohammed Tassim (32) and Pritam Saini (27) — have been arrested and sent to Tihar in connection with Hemant Chawla’s death. According to police, Chawla died at Nitin’s home and the two other accused were also present there at the time.
Police had said that Chawla’s autopsy report suggested he had died as a result of “manual strangulation”. A senior police officer said the decision to conduct a lie detector test was taken after the investigation team failed to ascertain the exact sequence of events, and also found contradictions in the statements of the arrested men.
“Police are likely to move an application in the coming days before the Delhi court, where they will submit a request for a lie detector test,” the officer said.
“The arrests were made by the southeastern range of the Crime Branch after the investigation team received a final opinion from a board of three AIIMS doctors, who unanimously concluded that the cause of death was asphyxia as a result of strangulation,” an officer said.
While police received the opinion report of the medical board on October 12, the investigation team had sent some questions to the board before taking action against the accused.
They received the answers to their questions in the last week of November, and made the arrests in the first week of December. “Hemant was allegedly strangled at Nitin’s home, and the three accused left soon after to meet their female friends. All of them admitted to being inebriated at the time,” the officer claimed.
Hemant had come to Delhi last year after taking a sabbatical from his job in the US as a financial analyst, following the death of his father. “Nitin and Tassim had claimed that Hemant was consuming drugs and alcohol, which is why police initially explored the drug overdose angle,” an officer said. However, the accused were unable to explain why there were no alcohol bottles at the spot, or why Hemant’s T-shirt, which he was wearing underneath his shirt, was missing.
Police had sent the preserved viscera to the forensic laboratory to ascertain the exact cause of the death, since the accused were claiming that Hemant had consumed drugs. However, while the viscera report suggested that a moderate amount of alcohol had been consumed, it could not establish if any drugs were taken.
Police sources claimed that the three accused admitted during questioning that they were partying and did not realise Hemant had died, and left Nitin’s home. All of them were under the impression that Hemant was sleeping, police said.