Gunshot kills Rear Admiral, Navy says it’s an accident | india | Hindustan Times
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Gunshot kills Rear Admiral, Navy says it’s an accident

The second-highest ranking officer of the Indian Navy’s Southern Command, Rear Admiral SS Jamwal (51), died in a “freak firing incident” in Kochi on Wednesday. “It is a case of suicide,” a senior police officer told HT, but several questions remained unanswered. HT Correspondent reports.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2010 07:15 IST
HT Correspondent

The second-highest ranking officer of the Indian Navy’s Southern Command, Rear Admiral SS Jamwal (51), died in a “freak firing incident” in Kochi on Wednesday.

“It is a case of suicide,” a senior police officer told HT, but several questions remained unanswered. The Navy has ordered a high-level probe into the incident. The “accident” took place in INS Dronacharya, a naval gunnery training school in Kochi, “in the presence of the commander of the school, Jamwal’s staff officer, and 22 naval cadets undergoing training on the ship”, the senior police officer said. This could not, however, be independently verified.

“After firing two rounds at the target, Jamwal shot himself in the temple,” the officer said. The Navy, however, denied this. “There is a lot of speculation about Rear Admiral Jamwal’s death. If he had wanted to commit suicide, he wouldn’t have chosen the firing range. Please don’t drag such a decorated officer into unnecessary controversies,” Commodore Ajaya Kumar, naval officer-in-charge, Kerala, said at a press conference in Kochi.

The Navy spokesman in Kochi added: “Admiral Jamwal received a single bullet injury on his head while inspecting a 9 mm pistol at the shooting range of the ship around 10.30 am.”

Jamwal, chief of staff in the Southern Command, and a specialist in anti-submarine warfare, had been involved in the negotiations for the purchase of the naval version of the Mig 29 fighters, the Akula class submarines and the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.

There were at least three conflicting reports about the circumstances leading to his death. When news of the incident first trickled out, it was reported that he had died while inspecting a guard of honour.

The police officer was quite emphatic that Jamwal had shot himself in the presence of witnesses. And the Navy insists it was an accident.