Over a week after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested three men from Delhi for their alleged involvement in the Rs 1,000-kg heroin seizure from Nhava Sheva port, one of the men was found dead in the toilet of the quarantine facility of Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai.
Another accused is also suspected to have attempted suicide by overdosing on pills but is currently stable, an official said.
Delhi resident Mohammed Nauman (43) is suspected to have died by suicide early Thursday. Nauman, suspected to be a middleman, was arrested on August 9 with importer Sarvesh Bhatia and logistics provider Mahendra Nigam from Delhi and brought to the city in connection with the heroin seizure.
The three men were initially sent to DRI’s custody and produced before a magistrate in Panvel court on Wednesday. The court directed them to be sent to judicial custody.
With Taloja jail not allowing new inmates to be directly taken to its premises, all accused are first taken to a school in Kharghar – converted into a temporary jail and quarantine facility – after they test negative for Covid-19. The Kharghar facility has inmates housed in six classrooms.
According to an officer from the Kharghar police station, Nauman’s death was reported around 1 am on Thursday.
Jail officials said that after 11 pm on Wednesday, Nauman told the staff that he wanted to go to the washroom. At the toilet, Nauman entered a cubicle. When he did not come out for a long time, the staffers on duty went to check and found him hanging by an iron rod with a towel.
They immediately brought him down and attempted to revive him. He was then taken to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead on arrival, an official said.
His inquest panchnama was conducted at JJ hospital and a magisterial inquiry is underway as per rules in custodial death cases. An accidental death record has been registered at Kharghar police station. This is the third death, alleged to be by suicide, in Taloja jail since May. In May and July, two undertrials were found dead in the toilet of the main central prison.
Earlier this month, the DRI had seized 191 kg of heroin from the Nhava Sheva port claiming that it was being smuggled from Aghanistan to Mumbai via Chabahar port in Iran.
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