A 26-year-old naval cadet, who was found unconscious at the Indian Naval Academy at Kerala’s Ezhimala, died Thursday. Gudeppa Sooraj’s family has alleged that academy authorities tortured him. Police have lodged a case of unnatural death and Southern Naval Command has ordered an inquiry.
An academy spokesperson said Sooraj was found unconscious on the floor of the academic wing Wednesday. The cadet was admitted to the government medical college at Pariyaram, said the spokesperson. Sooraj suffered a cardiac arrest late that night and while doctors were trying to save him, he suffered another cardiac arrest at 2.30 am, leading to his death, said the spokesperson.
Police said they could not record Sooraj’s statement as he was unconscious. No suicide note was recovered, they said.
Sooraj, a native of Malappuram, joined the Navy as a sailor in 2010. In 2013, he cleared the departmental exam for a naval officer’s post. He joined the academy as a trainee cadet in 2014. Sources in the academy said Sooraj was dismissed in 2014 on charges of malpractice during an exam. He moved the high court against his dismissal. In December last year, the court asked the academy to take him back and he joined earlier this year as a first-term cadet. The first-term exam was on and Sooraj took the test Wednesday. Sources in the academy alleged that he was found cheating again. Sources said the allegations of torture were “baseless”.
Sooraj’s brother Sanoj, however, said, “The allegation of malpractice during the exam is baseless. He was physically tortured. This is nothing but murder.’’