The Delhi Police has entrusted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Crime Branch to investigate the mysterious death of Hindustan Times journalist Jayanta Kumar Rath (26), who was reportedly mowed down by a train at the New Delhi Railway station on Thursday night.
In a gross case of negligence, the police detected the body six hours later and the family was informed almost a day later even though Rath had his mobile phone and relevant identification papers intact on him.
His wallet was missing and the bag that he was carrying had been ripped open and was found near his body.
Rath, a native of Orissa, was supposed to catch a train for his native place in Cuttack. “His parents were considering a marriage proposal for him. Rath was going home to give his consent. Marriage plans were underway and he would have got married in the coming year,” said B.K. Rath, his uncle.
Rath, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), 2005 batch, had completed his B.Com from Ravenshaw College in Cuttack. He turned 26 years on March 16 this year. He had earlier worked for The Statesman and was currently working with HT.
Police claimed Rath had mistakenly got down at Platform number 7 while the train was to arrive at Platform number 9.“Once the train reached platform 9, Rath tried to cross over the railway lines to reach there. His leg was caught between two railway tracks and he might have been mowed down by another train,” a senior police officer said.
Relatives, however, refuted the claim. “He was an extremely responsible person. Firstly, he left home around 9.40 p.m. to catch the train slated to depart at 10.20 p.m. He lived at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, which is hardly a kilometre from the New Delhi railway station. Secondly, he always travelled by Purushotam Express and knew well the train departs from
Platform number 9. Why would he get down at the wrong platform?” the uncle said.
A Northern Railway spokesman confirmed there was no change in the schedule of the train on Thursday that could have led to any confusion. Though Rath died around 10.20 p.m., his body was detected by the police only around 4.30 a.m. on Friday. The police informed the family a good 16 hours later.
The body was preserved at Subzi Mandi mortuary and a post-mortem was conducted on Saturday. His parents reached Delhi around 7 p.m. on Saturday. “The reason why the family was informed so late will also be looked into,” said Amulya Patnaik, joint commissioner of police (Crime). Initially the General Railway Police (GRP) was investigating the case.