Sikkim police constitutes SIT to investigate student leader Padam Gurung’s death case

Sikkim police constitutes SIT to investigate student leader Padam Gurung’s death case

Sikkim Police on July 3 constituted a Special Investigation Team( SIT) to investigate student leader Padam Gurung's mysterious death at Kajitar, Namchi. 

SIT formed to investigate the mysterious death of student leader Padam Gurung SIT formed to investigate the mysterious death of student leader Padam Gurung

Sikkim Police on July 3 constituted a Special Investigation Team( SIT) to investigate student leader Padam Gurung's mysterious death at Kajitar, Namchi. 

Padam Gurung, a 21-year-old student and President of the Students Representative Council (SRC) at Namchi Government College was found dead under mysterious conditions in the Kazitar area of Sikkim on June 27th night. 

DIG (Range) Hari Chettri while speaking to the media said, "A Special Investigation Team(SIT) has been constituted to probe Padam Gurung's mysterious death at Kajitar, Namchi. This case was earlier filed as unnatural death but now it will be converted into murder case and special treatment and investigation will be done and we will explore all areas".

Earlier it was reported that the incident took place near Crossroad Cafe and Lodge in Kazitar Namchi, from where the deceased was swept by the overflowing drainage due to heavy rainfall on June 27. After long hours of searching, the body of the deceased student was found in the drainage, in the morning, between 4:30-5:00 am but challenging this narrative and strong resentment from family members and reactions in social media the case will be now investigated by 8 members Special Investigation Team and expected to come up with report soon. 

Meanwhile the elder brother of Padam Gurung, Prem Kumar Gurung while speaking to the media shared "We have seen the body and also go through CCTV footage but the main incident is not captured in the camera, and looking at the body marks we are doubtful that it was murder and we are also not convinced he was swept away by the drain."

On July 3, the day the college fest was supposed to be held but was cancelled over the death, East Mojo reached Namchi town to speak with a family member of the deceased Gurung who had agreed to speak. Prem Gurung, brother of Padam Gurung, shared, "We as a family are seeking justice, we do not feel our brother fell in the drain. This has to be a murder. All my brothers are also suggesting the same. The information reached us at home around 2:30 am (July 27) where we were informed that he (Padam) fell in the drain but the body had not been recovered by then. The call was from the Police Station to my uncle and we reached the spot around 4 am. By that time even police had carried out search operations. It appears my brother was with four of his friends who informed the police about where he had fallen in the drain. But by the time we reached they were no where to be seen. Police told us that they had gone to their respective rooms. Otherwise usually these friends of my brother had my phone number and I had theirs, but they didn't contact me on his death". 

Adding suspicion of foul play Prem Gurung further narrated, "As per the CCTV footages, he supposedly fell in the drain around 11:15 pm (July 27) though it's not visible in the footage of him falling. When fire department searched they had not found the body there. When police came and searched then also it was not there. Even when public came out and searched, they didn't find the body. Everyone suggested it was struggle to find in the rain. When we reached around 4 am, even then the body was not where it was found, only the police suggesting that he fell from one location somewhere in drain system". 

Padam's brother thereafter requested the Police to call 4 of his deceased brother's friends who were with him supposedly on that fateful night before he fell in the drain. The brother narrates, "Soon as they were called to come to the spot, we went searching. The four friends were searching seperately, we were seperately. But soon as they started looking, they found the body right at the location where earlier the fire department, the police officials and general public had already searched. As though the body has resurfaced. They took out his body from the drain. Thereafter two police officers came and even they saw the body, facing downward on the drain floor. Thereafter when the body was examined it appeared as though it was a fresh incident, as if he was just hit, with a fresh injury, blood pouring from his ear, the three injuries in his forehead also were fresh. After seeing that, we were convinced it was not an accident but a murder where someone has clearly hit him first, we could say so after seeing the body".

Furthermore, Padam's brother informed that more information has come from many of Padam's friends about how he was drinking in the nearby pub the night prior. "There are CCTV footages showing him with four of his friends along with three other girls. The identity of those girls is unknown and appears they had run away after the incident. They were seen getting out of the pub together. I have retrieved the girls photos and phone number which currently is going switched off. I have submitted all these informations with the police and recorded the same even in my statement to the police. Police have decided to bring these suspects also for questioning. However, those four friends of Padam, they have not come to our aid yet adding more to the suspicion. However, when I checked Padam's phone after the police handed it over to me, he had called two of his four friends around 11:26 pm and 11:27 pm on July 27, where a 33 second call was made to one of the friends. When the police have declared that he fell around 11:15 pm adding more suspicion that he may have been alive until then". 

Padam's brother also suggested that his brother was facing some threat from fellow students and outsiders about the fest and the money involved in the festival. Padam's brother shared, "Now we are learning that my brother was receiving some form of harrasment from fellow college students almost 5 days before his death. The matter had even reached the College Principal to beef up his security which was demanded by friends of Padam. But the Principal refused to take action then.Even the College Principal had been summoned to record his statement.  He had told our sister about facing such torture in the college. The threat could have been from the losing candidates in the earlier Student Representative Council elections where my brother was elected as president and the others had lost". 

Post mortem report of Padam was also handed to the family on July 27, speaking about the report, "The report suggests that he had water in his lungs, some sand particles, suggesting he had drowned. There were 18 injury marks on my brother, which is clearly a mark of being hit and not being dragged by the drain water. Now there are evidences coming that he was hit with a rod, a brass knuckle on his forehead and it appears there were people who had seen the incident unfolding. They claimed that he was hit in knee with the rod and that is where most of the injury is. The three injuries on his forehead are indicative that they were from knuckles. They shared this information with me as well as the Police". 

The Sikkim police further added, "The investigation is ongoing and to declare a reason for it is not correct currently. We felt the need so we added more officers, we needed technical analysis so we involved technical teams.  We are carrying out the best possible investigation and not leaving behind any angle or viewpoint on the death. We are talking not merely with the family but also to civilians who reside close to the scene of the crime. Everyone with little information about the incident, we have recorded statements from them as well. Any other person with information or evidences, we appeal to civilians to coordinate with the police, we intent on involving those evidences in the investigation". 

Denying many of the allegations made by Padam Gurung's family members. Sikkim Police officials shared, "All the allegations are merely rumours being spread by the people. We do not take them to be truth. We have accepted the FIR and case is being investigated as unnatural death. We cannot accept many FIRs pertaining to one case, which should be enough. Smart City had installed many cameras, so we are taking them as CCTV evidences, however they are missing in many key locations pertaining to the case". 


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Edited By: Nandita Borah
Published On: Jul 04, 2023