A 2016 batch IAS officer, who came 53rd in UPSC’s all-India ranking, drowned in a swimming pool late Monday night. Police said the victim, Ashish Dahiya, was partying with his friends at the pool, located inside the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar. Police said Dahiya’s batchmates, including IAS, IRS and IFS officers, were having a get-together after a convocation ceremony at South Block. Dahiya was set to be posted in Srinagar soon. Police ruled out foul play and said the death appeared accidental.
Dahiya’s family, however, hinted at foul play, saying he was a swimmer and couldn’t have drowned. DCP (south) Ishwar Singh told The Indian Express that prima facie, the cause of death appears to be drowning. “But we have preserved the viscera to ascertain the exact cause of death. No external injury has been found on his body,” said Singh. Polices sources said Dahiya and his batchmates had been invited for a get-together at the FSI hostel. Sources said around 25-30 officers attended the party. Dahiya, who hails from Haryana’s Sonipat, had attended a convocation before coming to the party, sources said.
Police said the swimming pool is surrounded by hostel rooms and is about six to eight feet deep. Sources said that around midnight, about 10 people who were left at the party decided to enter the pool. Police said two versions emerged after speaking to eyewitnesses: One, that Dahiya and a woman appeared to be drowning and others jumped in to rescue them; and two, that Dahiya jumped into the pool to rescue the woman.
Eyewitnesses told police that they lost sight of Dahiya, and his body floated up to the surface moments later. He was rushed to Fortis Hospital by some of the officers, where doctors declared him brought dead. Police were then called to the spot, following which the family was informed. Dahiya’s wife Pragya Dixit, who lives in Mukherjee Nagar, has an MBBS degree and is preparing for the UPSC exam on June 15. They married two-and-a-half years ago. Dahiya was the youngest of three brothers. Both his brothers are engineers, while his father is a retired employee of the Haryana agriculture department. His mother is a government school teacher.