The preliminary post-mortem report of Debendra Nath Ray, MLA from Hemtabad in West Bengal’s North Dinajpur district, has stated that he died “due to effects of hanging”.
His wife Chadima has written to the police, naming two people who allegedly owed money to Ray and would threaten him when he asked them to return it. She has also stated that local Trinamool Congress leaders had approached Ray, who was elected in the 2016 state polls on a CPM ticket but joined the BJP in 2019, and asked him to join the party.
The body of 65-year-old Ray was found hanging about a kilometre from his house in Bindal village Monday morning.
The state government has asked the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to probe the case, but the BJP has demanded a CBI investigation.
The preliminary autopsy report states, “Death was due to effects of hanging as noted above-antemortem in nature. Further information if any will be provided after receipt of the chemical examiners report.”
In her letter to inspector in-charge, Raiganj police station, Ray’s wife has stated, “Two persons residing in Malda district… owed my husband a large sum of money. Whenever my husband asked for the money back, they would threaten him.”
The letter added, “Local TMC people were unhappy after my husband changed the party, the reason being the emergence of BJP as the main opposition in the upcoming Assembly polls.”
She further stated that in the recent past, local TMC leaders had asked Ray to join the party and he had mentioned this to her. She wrote that on Sunday night, Ray slept in the room next to hers around 1 am. Around 5 am, she stated, local residents told her that Ray’s body was found hanging about a kilometre away and she rushed to the spot.
“My husband had no slippers on his feet. He never went out without slippers. He suffered from knee problems and hardly went out. The road from my house to the spot of the incident was muddy (that morning). But there was no sign of mud on my husband’s body,” she wrote.
She stated that she strongly believes that Ray was strangled to death and his body then hanged at the public spot.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said, “On reading the post mortem report and on examining attendant circumstances of witnesses and evidences, the West Bengal Police is prima facie of the opinion that this is a case of suspected suicide.”
“A piece of paper or note purportedly written by the deceased appearing in a shirt pocket he was wearing. Names two persons, gives their alleged photographs and mobile numbers,” he said. “The WB Police have examined the antecedents and activities of the two aforesaid named persons… appears that these two persons were involved in some para banking or money lending activities in the locality. The context of informal banking is being examined by the West Bengal Police,” he said.
Bandyopadhyay said the body had been sent to Raiganj Govt Medical College and Hospital for the post-mortem and the preliminary report “mentions one non-continuous ligature mark on neck and one pressure aberration on left hand and notes that ‘the injuries showing of evidence of vital reactions and was ante-mortem. No other injury was detected’”.
“The investigation has already been handed over to the CID and instructions have been given to them. No political or extraneous consideration will be allowed to interfere with the pursuit of the truth through impartial investigation,” he added.
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