Journalist Sandeep Kothari who had written against illegal mining was burnt to death and not set afire after he was murdered, his post-mortem report has revealed. The new revelation has been made in the autopsy report prepared by Wardha Central Hospital in adjoining Maharashtra, where the post-mortem examination was conducted.
According to the report, Kothari was burnt to death as carbon particles were found in his lungs during post-mortem. Presence of carbon particles in the lungs means a person had been set afire prior to his death.
Balaghat Superintendent of Police (SP) Gaurav Tiwari said on Saturday: "It is true that some new facts have come out in the detailed post-mortem report. There was a delay in getting this report from Wardha. The matter is being probed on the basis of new facts."
The report pointed out two main reasons for the 40-year old scribe's death: first suffocation, and secondly, 92% burn injuries. The burnt body of Kothari, abducted from Katangi tehsil in his native Balaghat district on June 19, was found lying near railway tracks at Sindi town in Wardha district of eastern Maharashtra a few days later.
Police initially thought that Kothari was killed and then his body was burnt. Seven persons, including key accused Rakesh Narswani, have been arrested so far for the murder of Kothari, who used to write against people involved in illegal mining and other unlawful activities. It is suspected that Kothari was murdered because of enmity with Narswani and other accused, a police officer said.