His death at a rally of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi last month may have raised the heat on farmers’ issues, particularly the land acquisition bill, but call records that retrace the last 48 hours in the life of Gajendra Singh do not contain even a whiff of suspicion to indicate that he had planned to take his life.
The Call Detail Record (CDR) of Singh’s cellphone, examined by The Sunday Express, show he started from Kherli in Rajasthan on April 20 evening by train, participated in a doctor’s wedding in Haryana the next day and entered Delhi at 7.50 am on April 22, about five and-a-half hours before his body was found hanging from a tree at Jantar Mantar.
The CDR has also listed all those whom Singh spoke to in the last two days of his life — when contacted by The Sunday Express, they said he appeared “excited about the upcoming wedding of his niece”, “very pleasant”, “very cheerful”, and even wanted his uncle “to keep food ready” on the day he died.
His last call lasted 33 seconds and was made to his brother Bijender at 1.05pm on April 22, about 10 minutes before his death. “Watch me on television,” he said. His brother replied, “I will, once the electricity is back.”
Here’s how Gajendra Singh spent the last two days of his life:
* April 20, 6.18 pm, Samoochi, Rajasthan: He spoke to a relative Dhan Singh who lives in Samoochi in Alwar district. “He was excited about the upcoming wedding of his niece. He told me he was going to Kurukshetra and boarding the Udaipur-Khajuraho intercity train to travel from Kherli to Bandikui junction that night,” said Dhan Singh.
The route map of the train (No 19665) shows that it is scheduled to depart from Kherli at 8.04 pm and arrive at Bandikui by 9.27 pm. According to the website indiarailinfo.com, this train runs 55 mins to 1.15 hours late every day, on an average. CDR data reveal that Singh entered Haryana at 3.34 am on April 21.
* April 21, 9.56 am, Kurukshetra, Haryana: Gajendra Singh called Dr Luv Jindal in Kurukshetra. When contacted, Dr Jindal said he had given Singh the contract for tying ‘safa’ (turbans) at his wedding that night. Jindal said he got Singh’s number from a website.
“I remember that he called to find the way to my house. He was at my place since that morning but maybe in the evening, he could have been somewhere else. My last memory of Singh is of him tying the ‘safa’ before the wedding ceremony at approximately 2 am. He was a very pleasant then, one felt his warmth,” said Dr Jindal.
* April 22, 7.50 am, New Delhi: At 8.59 am, he spoke to his uncle Narender Singh, who lives in Dwarka. “He asked me to keep food ready,” Narender Singh said. At 9 am, Gajendra Singh was at the Gole Market area. At 9.59 am, he spoke to another uncle Shivram Chauhan, who lives in Mandir Marg. He reached Chauhan’s house by 10.04 am where he stayed till 10.41 am. He then went to the Talkatora area and by 11.42 am was at Jantar Mantar.
“He said he had come from Kurukshetra and that he would be in Delhi for the next two-three days and would visit again. He left in less than an hour,” Chauhan said. The uncle added that Singh received a couple of calls at Mandir Marg.
One call was from his friend Sakuruddin, a trader who lives in Bharatpur. According to Sakuruddin, he was passing by Singh’s village and thought of meeting him. Gajendra picked his call on his third attempt at 10.04 am. “His conversation was not clear, but he sounded very cheerful,” said Sakuruddin.
The other call, at 10.44 am, was from Singh’s brother Bijender, who said that Gajendra informed him that he was going to attend the AAP rally. Singh later told Chauhan, “Some others who are going to the rally are waiting”. Chauhan said, “He left in a hurry, with a promise to return that day or the next day.”
At 11.42 am Singh received a call from his younger sister Rekha Kanwar and they spoke for 107 seconds. “I told him his voice was not clear. He said he was at a rally and will return soon,” Kanwar said. Then came that last call to Bijender.
As news broke of Gajendra Singh’s death, his cellphone number that was mentioned in a note allegedly recovered from the spot was displayed on TV channels. The number then received four more calls, which were answered by someone.